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Denver officer shot during chase in NW Denver; Search for suspect called off

DENVER — A Denver officer was shot, three people have been injured and at least one person has been killed after a high-speed chase in northwest Denver Wednesday afternoon.

Police said the three injured are all suspects in the chase that ended when their red pickup truck hit a tree in Columbus Park at 39th Avenue and Osage Street. Denver police shot and killed a fourth suspect.

A fifth suspect, described as a Hispanic man about 6 feet 2 inches tall and wearing a white hoodie, escaped and was the subject of a massive police search. However, Denver police said late Wednesday all suspects were in custody, and the search was called off.

It’s unclear if there was actually an escaped fifth suspect. It’s possible there were only four suspects and all were already in custody or accounted for earlier in the day.

Witnesses told FOX31 Denver they saw a red pickup truck driving very fast down Osage. It sideswiped several cars in the area before crashing head-on into a tree at Columbus Park.

Denver police had said there were five suspects in the truck. One person was shot and killed at Columbus Park. Another man was shot and taken to Denver Health. He was in critical condition Wednesday night. A third suspect was also taken to the hospital after police K9 gave him a serious dog bite.

The fourth suspect, a woman, was taken to the hospital with injures related to the truck crashing into the tree, police said.

The injured officer, Sgt. Bob Motyka, was taken to Denver Health for treatment. He was listed in serious condition with a shoulder injury that was not life-threatening.

Denver’s chief of police, Robert White, visited the officer, and his family has been notified. Mayor Michael B. Hancock is expected to visit the officer as well.

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Police chase left destructive path

Sources tell FOX31 Denver the chase started when Adams County officials sent out a “Be on the Lookout” alert for a red pickup truck that was believed to be in an incident that included displaying of a weapon Wednesday morning.

It happened at 11:28 a.m. in the 2400 block of 101st Way in Thornton. Police there say the call came in as a man pointing a gun at a known acquaintance. Investigators say the suspect fled that scene in a red pickup truck.

A Denver police officer saw the truck Wednesday afternoon and tried to pull it over, beginning the chase, the source said.

A Denver police tweet said the initial incident happened at West 34th Avenue and Mariposa Street.

Residents in the area reported seeing the red pickup truck driving erratically and sideswiping cars.

“I was sitting at the corner here and a red Dodge pickup ran the stop sign,” said Darrel Crestin. “So I got out of the way and my car was hit.”

One witness said they saw a person in the truck throwing debris at the officers trying to stop them.

Multiple blocks have been closed to traffic as police continue their investigation. Traffic in the area is moving very slowly.

Trevista at Horace Mann and Bryant Webster School were on Controlled Release, which meant parents needed to bring an ID and pickup their children, said Denver Public Schools spokeswoman Kristy Armstrong.

Our La Casa Community Health Center was currently closed due to police activity in the area, Denver Health tweeted.

School buses that were already en route to drop off students in the area were being held outside the police perimeter.

In a separate incident, a Denver police officer was hurt when his police cruiser was hit near Colfax Avenue and Kalamath Street. It’s not yet known if the officer was responding to the Columbus Park shooting or not.