* (Disclaimer: This video content is intended for educational and informational purposes only) *
Denver, Colorado — On May 19, 2021, the Denver Police Department received a 911 call relating that there was a man with a knife under a tree on the east side of Federal Boulevard at Harvard Avenue. The caller reported that the man was cutting himself and was bleeding. Officers Katie Phillips and Jordan Archuleta were dressed in full uniform and each driving alone in a marked patrol vehicle. They responded with emergency lights and sirens activated. As they arrived at the scene, they noted that Denver Fire Department personnel and paramedics were already staged nearby. They parked their patrol vehicles in the northbound lanes of traffic approximately 90-100 feet from this man, who was later identified as 52-year-old Raul Rosas-Zarsosa. Wanting to help him, but aware that he possessed a deadly weapon, Officers Phillips and Archuleta developed a plan to approach to speak with him; Officer Archuleta intended to slowly drive his patrol car as cover while Officer Phillips approached him on foot.
A civilian walking his dog was very close to this man, and officers, fearing for his safety, directed him away from the man with the knife. It appears that in calling out to the man with the dog, the officers alerted Rosas-Zarsosa to their presence. Before Officers Phillips and Archuleta could carry out their plan, Rosas-Zarsosa began walking toward them at a steady and rapid pace. Both officers could see a knife in Rosas-Zarsosa’s hand. Officer Phillips deployed her pepper ball gun several times; while several pepper balls struck him, they had little effect on Rosas-Zarsosa, who continued to advance rapidly toward them. Officer Archuleta, who was standing to the right of Officer Phillips and at least one step ahead of her, then deployed his Taser. Because only one probe of the Taser hit Rosas-Zarsosa, this too had no effect. At this time, Officer Phillips determined that Officer Archuleta was in danger of being injured by Rosas-Zarsosa, who was still holding the knife and advancing on the officers.
She threw the pepper ball gun to the ground and upholstered her duty weapon. Officer Phillips shot five times, at which point Rosas-Zarsosa fell to the ground. While on the ground, Rosas-Zarsosa threw the knife away from his body. Cover and emergency aid arrived within less than two minutes, and officers approached Rosas-Zarsosa. Rosas-Zarsosa was treated immediately for his wounds and was transported to Denver Health Medical Center, where he passed away from his injuries. Officers Archuleta and Phillips were separated and transported to Denver Police Headquarters. Officer Archuleta made a statement that evening; Officer Phillips participated in a voluntary interview the following afternoon. A multijurisdictional team comprised of the Denver Police Department Homicide Unit, Aurora Police Department Major Crimes Unit, and the Denver.
District Attorney’s Office responded to conduct the investigation. Investigators determined that Officer Archuleta did not fire his weapon. They concluded that Officer Phillips fired five rounds. Through the measuring tool embedded in the FARO scene software and after observation of the body worn camera footage of the officers, DFD Homicide Detective Bueno was able to estimate the distance between Officer Phillips and Rosas-Zarsosa as 12 feet when Officer Phillips discharged her firearm. Forensic pathology fellow, Dr. McLaren, conducted the autopsy of Rosas-Zarsosa on May 20, 2021. She determined that he had sustained five gunshot wounds and one graze wound. The gunshot wounds were to the left abdomen; to the lower left abdomen; to the left buttock; and to the left and right forearms.’ The graze wound was to the right shoulder. Dr. McLaren concluded that the cause of Rosas-Zarsosa’s death was multiple gunshot wounds.
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0:00 – 911 Call
0:21 – Bodycam: Officer Katie Phillips
3:01 – Bodycam: Officer Jordan Archuleta