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Thornton officers justified in May shooting, DA says

Thomas Marquez died after an officer-involved shooting involving Thornton police on May 26.
Credit: KUSA

THORNTON, Colo. — Two Thornton Police Department (TPD) officers were found legally justified in the shooting of a man on May 26, according to a letter from District Attorney Dave Young.

The shooting took place in a parking lot at 12450 Washington St., according to the letter.

Around 9:15 p.m., two witnesses were walking along the Highline Trail when they heard what sounded like a gunshot, the letter from the DA says.

About five minutes later, the witnesses saw a man, later identified as Thomas Marquez, who was armed with a handgun, according to the letter. The witnesses then called 911.

Officers from TPD responded to the area but were unable to locate Marquez, Young said in the letter.

Just after 11 p.m., TPD Officer Stephen Stroud saw Marquez walking toward him in the parking lot of the Thornton Infrastructure Maintenance Center, the letter says.

Stroud noticed what he believed to be the grip of a handgun in the right pocket of Marquez, police said. Stroud called dispatch for backup, saying that Marquez was "incoherent and possibly armed," according to the letter.

Stroud gave clear commands to Marquez to keep his hands away from his pockets, which Marquez did not follow, according to the letter.

Marquez did follow Stroud's commands to stand next to a nearby fence, but failed to keep his right hand away from the pocket where Stroud saw the grip of the handgun, the letter said.

TPD Officer John DeHann arrived to assist Stroud with the situation, the letter says.

In video from Stroud's body camera, Marquez kept the right side of his body concealed from officers, and Marquez would not put his right hand up, according to the letter.

A few minutes latter, Marquez is heard making a "guttural yell" and is seen in the body camera footage drawing his handgun from his right pocket, the letter says.

Stroud reported he saw a muzzle flash from Marquez's gun and was afraid that he had fired a shot at Dehann, according to the letter.

Both officers reported to have fired shots at Marquez, Stroud firing three shots and DeHann firing nine shots, the letter says.

After the shooting, officers found a silver "Ruger semi-automatic long barrel handgun," with one live bullet in the firing position and eight bullets in the magazine, according to the letter, and a matching .22-caliber casing was found on the ground near Marquez.

Marquez was hit and pronounced dead at the scene. Neither officer responding was injured.

A toxicology report showed that Marquez had a blood alcohol level of .355 at the time of the shooting, the report says.

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