Thornton, CO – Bodycam footage captured the moment when a pedestrian walking in traffic on the freeway charged at police with a knife and was fatally shot (video below).
The Thornton Police Department (TPD) released footage of the Sept. 5, 2022, incident on Wednesday.
The series of events leading to the death of 29-year-old Darylray Lopez began at approximately 7:30 a.m., when the TPD received multiple calls about a man walking in traffic in the 8500-block of Interstate 25, the department said in a community briefing.
Several callers told the 911 dispatcher that vehicles on I-25 were swerving around the man to avoid hitting him, according to police.
“One caller states she had almost hit the male with her car,” the TPC said.
The community briefing also included audio recordings of some of the 911 calls.
“I’m driving south on I-25 and there’s a man walking down the middle of a highway in the traffic lane!” one frantic caller said. “He’s just walking in traffic towards the cars.”
Officers arrived at the scene spotted Lopez crossing back and forth over the median wall between the northbound and southbound lanes, radio traffic revealed.
Bodycam footage showed an officer approaching Lopez from the opposite side of the wall.
“I’m sick,” Lopez told him.
“Why are you sick? Do you need help?” the officer asked. “We’ll help you, man. Do you need an ambulance?”
Lopez abruptly pushed away from the wall at that point and briefly headed towards the traffic lanes before circling around again, the video showed.
He then turned his focus towards a second officer who had pulled up near him.
Officers then realized the suspect was armed with a knife, the video showed.
They repeatedly ordered him to drop his weapon, but Lopez continued to advance on the second officer.
He then broke into a run, at which point the second officer opened fire, bodycam footage showed.
Lopez was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the TPD said.
No officers or bystanders were injured during the incident, according to police.
The officer who shot Lopez was placed on administrative leave, as per protocol, the TPD said.
He has been identified as Thornton Police Officer Arthur Brown, Colorado Community Media reported.
Officer Brown said in an incident report that he knew he had to take action when the armed suspect began charging at him from about 15 feet away, according to the news outlet.
“Officer Brown said after the male took two steps he thought, ‘I have to react now, otherwise this guy going to kill me,’” the report read.
Lopez’s stepmother, Amber Cisneros, allegedly told investigators Lopez had been acting “a little paranoid” the morning of the incident, Colorado Community Media reported.
“Amber said that he had never (officially) been diagnosed with any mental disabilities, but that he had PTSD for being in prison for 10 years,” according to the police report.
Cisneros said Lopez had been out of prison for about a year prior to the shooting, but that he recently lost his job, Colorado Community Media reported.
The 17th Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team is handling the ongoing investigation into the fatal officer-involved shooting, as per protocol, the TPD said.
The investigative findings will be forwarded to the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, which will determine whether the officer was justified in using deadly force against his armed attacker.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content: