District Attorney Brian Mason cleared Commerce City police officers who were involved in a shooting last year. He released an explanatory letter June 22.
"There is no reasonable likelihood of success of proving the elements of any crime beyond a reasonable doubt against the involved officers," read letter to Commerce City Police Chief Clint Nichols. "Therefore, no criminal charges will be filed against the law enforcement officers involved in this incident."
The incident happened late in the afternoon Aug. 3, 2021, in the 7100 block of Grape Street. When officers arrived, they found a man who had died of gunshot wounds. Mason's letter said witnesses described a potential suspect and directed them to nearby Fairfax Park. One witness identified Andrew Reineke as the suspect.
As officer Don Calvano searched the area, he heard gunshots from close range. He wasn't hurt but realized a bullet "perforated the sleeve of his uniform," the letter said.
Other officers radioed they saw Reineke in the backyard of a home in the 6900 block of Fairfax Street. The letter said Reineke fired at Calvano and again missed him. Calvano shot nine times before his rifle malfunctioned.
"Although Officer Calvano was also armed with a 9-mm semi-automatic handgun, he did not fire it during the encounter," Mason's letter read.
Detective Cody Nau was also at the suspect's location but on the opposite side of the residence. Nau saw the suspect come out from behind the residence.
"He saw the suspect raise a firearm and point it at him," the letter read. "Detective Nau aimed his Glock 9-mm semi-automatic handgun at the suspect and fired two times but missed."
Two other officers, Officer Marie Anders and Sgt. Megan Cordova, parked in the area of East 69th Avenue and Fairfax Drive. They reported that gunfire struck an Adams County sheriff's deputy vehicle and they thought the gunfire hit their car, too.
"The officers ... saw the suspect climb over a privacy fence onto the driveway of the residence nearby," the letter read. "The suspect was armed with a black handgun. The officers called out to the suspect to put his hands up. The suspect noticed the officers, raised the handgun and pointed it at them."
Officer Anders fired one round from a .223-caliber rifle. Her weapon malfunctioned after the one shot. Sgt. Cordova fired two rounds from her Glock 9-mm semi-automatic handgun.
Two more officers, Michael Gray and Sgt. Nicholas Arias, parked their patrol car in the Fairfax Park parking lot. Gray heard more shots.
"Officer Gray and Sgt. Arias believed the suspect was engaged in a gun battle," the district attorney's letter read. "So, they turned their attention in that direction. The officers saw the suspect climb a fence while holding a handgun."
Reineke got hung up on the fence, and Officer Gray thought Reineke was going to shoot at the officers again. He fired his POF USA 5.56-caliber rifle six times at the suspect. After Arias saw the suspect point his gun in the officers' direction, Arias fired two shots at the suspect from his Sig Sauer 9-mm semi-automatic handgun.
Reineke had gunshot wounds to his arms and legs. Officers apprehended him in the driveway of the home at 6900 Fairfax Drive.
"Under Colorado law, a law enforcement officer may use an amount of force, including deadly physical force, when it is reasonable and appropriate under the circumstances," Mason's letter read. "Additionally, under Colorado law, police officers, like any other individual, have the right to defend themselves or others from the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force.
"I find the actions of these officers to be justified, necessary and appropriate," the letter added. "The prosecution cannot prove that the involved officers were not justified in using reasonable force. The evidence does not support the filing of criminal charges."
Reineke is due in Adams County District Court at 8:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 26, for a review hearing.
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