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Internal emails reveal more than Englewood wants the public to know about deadly shooting

Police still will not say who shot and killed Matthew Mitchell at an Englewood home, or if officers shot someone they did not intend to shoot.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The city of Englewood's internal emails reveal more than the city wants the public to know about a police shooting that left a man dead last month.

The shooting happened July 24 at a house on Grove Street. Phillip Blankenship, 29, is accused of firing shots at officers from inside the home. Officers returned fire. Blankenship's brother, 22-year-old Matthew Mitchell, was killed. Blankenship was arrested. 

Englewood police won't say who shot and killed Mitchell, or if officers shot someone they did not intend to shoot.

The city's mayor, Othoniel Sierra, will not talk about the case. He's citing a gag order, though a First Amendment attorney told 9NEWS it doesn't apply to the mayor. Citing Englewood's city attorney, the city manager told Sierra that the gag order does apply to his position.

RELATED: Information from police following Englewood shooting limited, conflicting

Last week, 9NEWS emailed all seven council members and called the five whose numbers were listed online. None of them responded.

That's why 9NEWS filed an open records request to obtain emails between city leaders about the shooting. 

One of those emails, from City Manager Shawn Lewis, outlines the city's media policy, discusses communication with the council and describes the next steps in the process.

"I understand Councilmembers have received e-mails from a Channel 9 investigative reporter regarding the police involved shooting on Sunday night. Thank you for forwarding those e-mails to me. I also have heard some frustration about the lack of communication to Council on this incident. I hope this e-mail provides additional information, next steps, and context," the email began. 

In the July 28 email, Lewis wrote that "I was informed this afternoon that it may be possible" for body camera footage to be released "as early as this weekend." 

"Police leadership is confident that the footage will help the public understand the chaotic nature of the incident, and the difficulty in reaching a definitive conclusion," Lewis wrote in the email. 

"With the number of unknowns in this case, staff is also preparing for multiple possible outcomes of the official 18th Judicial investigation as well as various public conclusions that may arise when body cam footage is released," the email continued. 

The body cam footage has not yet been released.

RELATED: Citing gag order, Englewood mayor won't answer questions about police shooting

In a different email, Lewis sent Sierra a statement that could be attributed to the mayor. It said, in part, "It is our hope that our entire community can move forward and recover from the devastating impacts of that day as we await the results of an independent investigation by the 18th Judicial District."

One council member did send Lewis an email he wanted to send in reply to 9NEWS, prefacing it with "I would like to respond to this message today. However, I do not wish to be interviewed. I'm considering the following email reply:" 

9NEWS never received that response, in which the council member said he was "unable to comment on this weekend's incident" and referred 9NEWS to the police chief's video statement. 

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