COMMERCE CITY - The District Attorney’s Office announced Friday afternoon that the officers who fatally shot an armed man in Commerce City after an hours-long standoff were justified and won’t face any charges.
The incident happened in the early morning hours of Feb. 6 in the 5800 block of Magnolia Street. Just before he was shot, the suspect – identified as Cole Wooley – told officers that he wanted to die, according to the decision letter from the 17th District Attorney’s Office.
At one point, police say he said “Do I have to point [a gun] at you in order to get shot? Is that what I have to do?”
Two Commerce City officers first encountered Wooley when they came to the area on a domestic disturbance call. His sister – who police say was visibly intoxicated – was arrested.
Wooley was issued a summons for third-degree assault, and pleaded with officers not to arrest his sister. He also told police “I promise you guys are going to kill me tonight or somebody’s going to kill me.”
Wooley’s wife called 911 a few hours later and said her husband was making suicidal statements – and that he was armed with a black handgun and told her this would be a “murder suicide.”
When Commerce City officers arrived, they say Wooley was on the front porch holding a gun. While his wife was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher, she said she heard a gunshot from inside the house.
Officers told Wooley to drop the gun, but he refused – and instead asked them what it would take to shoot him, according to the letter.
These negotiations continued for hours, but Wooley refused to drop his gun. At one point, as negotiations began to break down, police say Wooley started a countdown. One officer tried to use a stun gun on him but it didn’t work.
As one officer walked toward Wooley, police say he pointed his gun at him from approximately five feet away.
That’s when five officers fired their weapons, killing Wooley. Investigators say 17 shots were ultimately fired by police.
The coroner’s office later determined that Wooley had been hit 13 times.
According to the DA’s decision letter, the officers were justified in the shooting because Wooley raised his weapon at an officer and nonlethal force had been attempted.
“The Commerce City Police Officers dispatched to this scene attempted to negotiate with Mr. Wooley to end this situation in a manner to prevent anyone from getting hurt,” the letter reads. “However, when Mr. Wooley started his countdowns, it became obvious to the police officers on scene that he was going to either shoot himself or do something to cause officers to shoot him.”
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