Denver Police say a murder suspect had just put a baby in his car before pulling out a gun and shooting at police officers from Denver and Aurora on Tuesday.
According to investigators, the suspect, identified by the Denver Coroner Wednesday afternoon as Juan Ramos, 23, shot an Aurora Police officer in the face in the 14500 block of East 46th Avenue, in the Montbello neighborhood.
Ramos’ car, a black, two-door Chevy Monte Carlo, was seen earlier in the day leaving the scene of a homicide at 142 Del Mar Circle in Aurora.
Aurora Police responded to the shooting at 142 Del Mar Circle around 11:21 a.m. They found a man, identified by the Arapahoe County Coroner as Antonio Norwood, in a parking lot on the west side suffering from gunshot wounds. Norwood, 35, was taken to a hospital where he later died.
9Wants To Know did a background check on Norwood (as it does in every case), and found Norwood is a convicted felon with a lengthy criminal history. His record includes burglary, theft and assault convictions, as well as a kidnapping charge.
A background check on Ramos revealed he was charged with a 3rd degree assault and false imprisonment in Denver in 2012. He pleaded guilty to the assault charge and was given a year in jail, suspended on the condition he would successfully complete one year of probation. 9Wants To Know found out he didn’t complete his probation, it was revoked and he spent 30 days in jail.
In December of 2012, he was charged with aggravated robbery and second-degree assault. The case was later dismissed because the prosecution could no longer prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.
In the Denver assault case from 2012, Ramos is accused of going to his girlfriend’s house who he has a 3-year-old son with and asking her to have sex. When she refused, Ramos took out a belt and started to strike the victim, leaving marks. The court records says she tried to leave, he would not let her. The court record says Ramos eventually asked for a hug and then let her leave.
The mugshots of Norwood and Ramos are not being released because the case is still under investigation and police intend to do photo lineups.
Denver Police say witnesses in the Aurora murder, gave detailed descriptions of Ramos’ car and license plate to Aurora Police, who then notified Denver Police, because the license plate of the suspect matched an address in Denver.
The car was found outside a home in the Montbello neighborhood in Denver.
During a Wednesday morning press briefing, a DPD homicide lieutenant said Ramos came outside with a baby in a carrier and put the baby in his car.
Four APD officers in an unmarked vehicle decided to make contact with Ramos before he left the scene.
DPD said, even though they were in an unmarked car, Ramos identified them as police, pulled out a gun and started shooting, hitting an Aurora Police officer in the face.
The officer who was hit was the driver of the vehicle. He’s expected to recover.
Officers fired back, killing Ramos. DPD said officers on the scene were careful while shooting and aware the baby was in the car. The baby was not injured and is currently with relatives.
“He [the suspect] was outside the passenger side of the vehicle, a couple of feet west of it,” said Lt. Matthew Clark, Denver Police Major Crimes Unit. “Their direction of fire was specifically at him. They were cognizant knowing that if they were off line with their fire, that it could potentially go into that vehicle. In doing so they made sure the direction of that fire was always at him.”
Clark said there was no way to avoid the shooting.
“The subject forced a confrontation with the officers, he fired upon the officers and they were in the area,” he said. “They did everything they could tactically to contain him, he was definitely an absolute threat to the community.”
Clark said Ramos’ gun and several shell casings were found at the scene.
Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz praised the actions of his officers, as well as Denver Police.
"We came very close to losing a brother here at Aurora Police Department," Chief Metz said at a press conference Wednesday.
With the officer's permission, Metz showed a photo of his injuries, saying that if the shot had been a half-inch or inch higher, he could have died.
"We feel very blessed that he is going to survive," Metz said. "And we feel very blessed that we're not planning a funeral. “Right now it’s important for the public to know the kinds of dangers our officers are facing and in particular for this situation. I think it’s incredibly important to know just how close and how serious this situation was for this officer.”
The officer who was shot has been with APD since 2003. His name has not been released.
Metz said a DPD supervisor loaded up the injured APD officer into his patrol car Tuesday and rushed him to University Colorado Hospital for treatment.
“This is just a prime example of how our departments come together when crisis hits and do an excellent job of taking care of each other,” Metz said.