The Adams County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday that the Federal Heights police sergeant who shot and killed an armed and dangerous suspect the night of July 4 will not be charged.
The entire situation happened in the parking lot of the Tuscan Apartments at 1800 East 85th Avenue in a matter of 44 seconds, according to investigators. The suspect, Juan Manriquez, was shot and killed by Sgt. Jon Hess after officers said he appeared to be reaching for a gun.
Manriquez’s niece had called police that night and said her uncle threatened to break into her apartment. At the time of the incident, he had two pending warrants out for his arrest and a photo of Manriquez was even displayed in the patrol room of the Federal Heights Police Department.
According to a decision letter from District Attorney Dave Young, Sgt. Jon Hess has “deployed his weapon in a previous instance where the suspect was killed.” The details of that incident were not discussed in Monday’s letter.
Police first staged outside of Manriquez’s niece’s apartment complex the night of July 4 after she told them she thought he was coming.
There were three other people in the car with Manriquez when he arrived. One of them, identified in the decision letter as Rudolf Medina, told police that he had recently been released from prison and that Manriquez, who he called “Solo,” had taken him under his wing.
The night Manriquez was shot, Medina told investigators he went with him to the apartment complex so they could “kick in a door and grab a purse and some powder that were hidden in one of the apartments.”
Medina said he didn’t kick in the door because families were present, so instead they returned with his girlfriend and another woman, who he called Mary Jane.
Mary Jane was supposed to “fight” Manriquez’s niece, according to Medina’s testimony.
Instead, when Manriquez pulled his red Mercedes into the parking lot, the decision letter says that three officers – including Hess – moved in on the vehicle with their guns drawn.
When Manriquez saw the officers approaching, police say he pushed Medina out of the way and got into the driver’s seat.
Hess, who says he saw a gun in Manriquez’s pocket, was heard yelling “don’t do it!” and “you’re going to get shot.”
When Manriquez fidgeted for what Hess thought was the gun and his niece thought was the gear shift, police say Hess fired three shots from his rifle, puncturing the front windshield of the car.
Next, the DA’s letter says Manriquez drove the vehicle forward, turned to the right, accelerated and crashed into a parked car. When officers confronted the suspect again, he was motionless.
Manriquez was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
No officers other than Hess fired their weapons, according to the DA’s letter.