Denver police shot and killed a man on Monday, telling the media that he was sitting in a stolen car and stepped out brandishing a gun.
Cops fired multiple times, killing Ramone Lonergan, 32, who was listed in the media as the first police shooting fatality of 2016.
Then, days later, Lonegran’s girlfriend came forward and said he had been driving her car and that it was not reported stolen. She also said he was not involved in any fraud of any kind.
Police did not exactly connect him to fraud but said they were investigating a cause of fraud or another stolen car at a Ramada Inn depending on which story you want to be believe when they spotted the car Lonergan was driving, assuming it was stolen.
According to Fox 31 in Denver:
Denver police officers were on the property just before 4 p.m. investigating a stolen vehicle. During their investigation, someone approached them to report another suspicious vehicle in the same lot.
Two officers approached the Toyota Rav4 and that’s when police said a man got out of the vehicle armed with a gun.
Shots then rang out.
“It was bam, bam, bam,” said Aaron Gamertsfelder, a construction worker who was on scaffolding across the street. “We kind of ducked a little bit and we were like ‘Whoa!’ You could smell the gun smoke right after it went off.”
Gamertsfelder said several of his co-workers hit the ground, worried about flying bullets.
The two officers involved were not injured, but police said the suspect was shot. He was rushed to a hospital in critical condition but later died from his injuries. He has not been identified.
“An officer never knows what type of encounter they’re going to have,” said Doug Schepman, a Denver police spokesman.
That certainly rings true for Lonergan, who probably never expected to be shot by police considering they have yet to tie him to anything criminal, now that police know his car was not stolen.
Lonergan’s girlfriend, Shanon Standy, wrote to Westword to set the record straight:
In her e-mail to Westword, Standy states that “I am writing to you to clear some things up that I am sure of.
“One…the stolen Toyota RAV4…that was MY car, and I, the car owner, did not report it stolen! I am still trying to figure out why it was listed as stolen.
“Second…Ramone was not involved in any fraud! He left our house that day to get money back that was borrowed from us, and he was going to come right back so we could go to my son’s basketball game.”
Standy is understandably distraught by the shooting and what she sees as an inaccurate portrayal of Lonergan as a potentially lethal car thief.
“It is not okay that the people who loved him have to go through this kind of loss,” she allows. “The picture that the media is painting of him is not right. The person we knew had the biggest heart and always tried to make sure people were okay. He offered people food, had people move in with us when they didn’t have a place to stay, watched over the kids in our area, and anytime anyone needed anything, he was there no matter what!
“His loved ones are devastated by this loss. My son goes into our closet and hugs Ramone’s clothes crying and asking him to come back to us! There is no excuse and no way to fix us having to go through life without this incredible man. We love him and miss him so much and we know he deserved better. WE LOVE YOU, RAMONE LONERGAN!”
Police say he brandished a gun as he tried to make a getaway, but police will say anything to justify killing citizens.