DA clears officers in Montbello shooting, offers details and community meeting

Aurora and Denver police officers were justified in shooting Juan Ramos to death in Montebello in November 2016, according to District Attorney Beth McCann.

A hole left by a bullet fired at Aurora police officers in Montbello in November 2016. (District Attorney)
The scene at East 46th Avenue and Dearborn Street. (Andrew Kenney/Denverite)
The scene at East 46th Avenue and Dearborn Street. (Andrew Kenney/Denverite)

Aurora and Denver police officers were justified in shooting Juan Ramos to death on East 46th Avenue in Montbello in November 2016, according to District Attorney Beth McCann. Ramos had shot an Aurora police officer in the face before officers opened fire, according to McCann’s office.

The case:

Early on Nov. 8, Aurora police officers responded to a report of a shooting on Delmar Circle. They arrived to find Antonio Norwood “lying on the ground and being held by his girlfriend,” according to the DA’s office, which provided the information for this case summary.

Norwood had been shot multiple times and later would die. The woman identified her ex-boyfriend, Juan Ramos, as the shooter, and witnesses provided a corroborating license plate number from the suspect’s vehicle, a black Monte Carlo.

The Aurora officers then notified Denver Police Department and others before heading to Ramos’ residence at 14572 E. 46th Ave. in Denver. Officers from both department arrived at the home a short time later.

Just before noon, Ramos walked out of the house with a child car seat and bags. Fearing he’d flee, officers approached while a special-response team moved to block the driveway with a Ford F-150.

Ramos had put the child in the car and partially closed the door when he looked at the approaching officers. He pulled up his shirt and pulled a handgun from his waistband, firing multiple rounds at the officers’ truck, according to McCann.

The pistol found by Juan Ramos' body. (District Attorney)
The pistol found by Juan Ramos’ body. (District Attorney)

A round struck Officer Erick Ortiz in the face. Ortiz survived. Two Aurora officers in the truck and a third Denver officer returned fire, killing Ramos, according to McCann. The Aurora officers were Sgt. Cassidee Carlson and Officer Steven Edwards, while the Denver officer was Jimmy Sheppard.

They fired 28 rifle rounds, an investigation found. Ramos likely fired six shots from his pistol, leaving eight in the chamber and 23 unused bullets in his pocket.

McCann’s account was based on DPD detectives’ interviews with the officers and witnesses, which found no inconsistencies. Ortiz, the injured officer, still has a bullet in his head, according to the DA’s report. The gunshot destroyed nerves.

“Under these dangerous circumstances, Officers Carlson, Edwards and Sheppard made split-second judgments, and their decisions to shoot Ramos in self-defense and in defense of others were justified under Colorado law,” McCann wrote.

The meeting:

McCann will discuss the shooting and her analysis on Tuesday, May 16. The meeting will happen from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Montbello Recreation Center, 15555 E. 53rd Ave.

McCann had pledged to host these kinds of meetings as a candidate for DA; this is the first decision letter on an officer-involved shooting that she has issued.

Andrew Kenney

Author: Andrew Kenney

Andrew Kenney writes about public spaces, Denver phenomena and whatever else. He previously worked for six years as a reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. His most prized possession is his collection of bizarre voicemail. Leave him one at 303-502-2803, or email akenney@denverite.com.