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2 Glendale officers won't be charged in fatal Halloween shooting

John Pacheaco was fatally shot after he was found unresponsive in a reported stolen truck that was in the northbound lanes of South Colorado Boulevard.

DENVER — Denver District Attorney Beth McCann completed the review of a fatal officer-involved shooting that happened near South Colorado Boulevard and East Alameda Avenue last October and said no charges will be filed against the officers involved.

According to a letter outlining her decision, McCann concluded that no criminal charges were warranted against Glendale Police (GPD) officers Neal McCormick and Chandler Phillips.

On Oct. 31, 2020, GPD officer Bradley Reed noticed a black truck in the northbound lane of traffic that was not moving, according to the letter.

>The video above is from the original report on the shooting

Reed approached the passenger side of the vehicle where he found a man, later identified as 36-year-old John Pacheaco Jr., slumped over the steering wheel, the letter says. Reed realized the area of South Colorado Boulevard was in the City of Denver and called Denver Police (DPD) to respond to the scene, according to the DA.

RELATED: Man shot by Glendale police officer dies

As Reed called the incident into DPD, he learned that the truck had been reported stolen, the decision letter says.

According to the letter, Reed returned to his patrol car and called for other officers to assist him. Phillips was north of the scene at the time of the call and pulled in front of the truck with his lights on, the letter says.

McCormick arrived at the scene shortly after Reed and parked his vehicle behind Phillips' patrol vehicle, according to the DA.

The three officers approached the truck to make contact with Pacheaco, the letter says. Reed tried to open the door and found it was locked, according to the letter.

Officers started shouting commands such as "let me see your hands!" and "stop!", the letter says. Pacheaco woke up, put the truck in gear, and started driving forward, hitting Phillips's patrol car, according to the letter.

McCormick attempted to get to the driver's side of the truck when Pacheaco put the truck in reverse and started to accelerate, clipping McCormick, the letter says.

Both McCormick and Phillips fired their duty weapons into the compartment of the truck, hitting Pacheaco, according to the letter. The truck continued in reverse, striking Reed's vehicle and a third GPD vehicle, before coming to a stop, the letter says. A GPD sergeant was in the driver's seat of the third vehicle, according to the letter.

DPD officers arrived at the scene following the shooting, the letter says. Medical aid was administered and Pacheaco was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead that night, according to the DA.

An investigation into the shooting was conducted by members of the Denver District Attorney's Office, DPD and Aurora Police (APD), the letter says. It was determined that McCormick had fired seven rounds and Phillips fired 12 rounds, according to the letter.

There is no body camera video available as GPD officers do not currently use body cameras, the letter says. However, security cameras at a nearby KFC restaurant captured the shooting.

Credit: Denver DA

“Mr. Pacheaco was stopped in a traffic lane blocking traffic on South Colorado Blvd. When officers tried to speak with Mr. Pacheaco, he unexpectedly put the truck in reverse as an officer was running behind the truck, clipping the officer and almost pinning him between the truck and a police car when these officers discharged their firearms,” said McCann. 

“At the moment they shot Mr. Pacheaco, these officers reasonably believed that their fellow officers were in danger of being killed or receiving serious bodily injury.” 

RELATED: Denver officer is stable after surgery for gunshot wound, police say

"Under these dangerous circumstances, Officers McCormick and Phillips were forced to make split-second judgments, and their decision to shoot Mr. Pachaeco in defense of others was justified under Colorado law," McCann said in the letter.

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