Man shot by ICE had knife, according to Denver police

An ambulance screams down Speer on a snowy evening wiht its sirens on. Nov. 17, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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The man shot and injured by immigration agents in Denver last week was holding a box cutter, according to the Denver Police Department.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents had been monitoring Hector Santana-Arreola, 39, for some time. He was wanted on outstanding warrants and was a felon who previously had been deported, according to Denver police.

The agents were following Santana-Arreola in a car on the morning of June 9 and used emergency lights to pull him over, a police detective said in a sworn statement. The suspect “initially failed to stop,” and then fled the vehicle on foot.

One of the ICE agents claimed to have seen a “silver and blue object,” in the suspect’s hand. Agents had chased Santana-Arreola for about a block when he “turned towards the officers in an aggressive manner,” according to the Denver cop’s statement. Two of the ICE agents told the police detective they spotted a knife in the suspect’s hand at that point.

They later told DPD that they “were both fearful” that the suspect would attack them, so one agent fired a gunshot. The shot grazed Santana-Arreola’s forehead, at which point he fell to the ground and dropped a folding knife or box cutter, according to the police statement.

Santana-Arreola was briefly hospitalized. In an interview, he told a police detective that he knew he was being stopped and “knew running from the officers was wrong.” He “also admitted he pulled the knife out of his pocket,” but denied that he intended to attack the officers, according to Det. Aaron Lopez’s sworn statement.

Santana-Arreola was being held for investigation of first-degree assault and on the outstanding warrants, according to police.

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.