Two Thornton Police Department officers will not face criminal charges in connection with a March shootout where a man suffering a mental health crisis turned the gun on himself.
Officers Eric Cos-Y-Leon and Brendan Wise exchanged shots with Dean Saiki after he first fired on one of their colleagues as she was approaching his parked pickup truck. The evidence in the case does not support criminal charges, 17th Judicial District Attorney Brian Mason wrote in a letter to Thornton chief Chief Terrence Gordon explaining why charges would not be filed.
Although the two Thornton officers fired at Saiki, only one bullet struck him in the right foot, but that was not a fatal shot, according to the letter, which cited an autopsy report. Earlier police reports about the shooting said Saiki’s only wound was the self-inflicted gunshot to the head. Saiki died from that injury, the letter said.
Saiki’s family members called police for help on March 3 because he was experiencing a mental health crisis.
Cos-Y-Leon saw Saiki shoot at the first officer, and he fired two shots from his 9 mm handgun at Saiki, the letter said. Wise fired one round from a .556 rifle after Saiki pointed his handgun at officers, who were trying to convince him to surrender.
During the police encounter, Saiki told crisis negotiators that he believed “the FBI and CIA were after him and that the law enforcement officers were part of a cult that worshipped ‘666,’” the letter stated.
During the 90-minute standoff, Saiki paced the road, alternated between kneeling and standing and took off his sweatshirt and T-shirt and challenged officers to, “Take the shot,” the letter said. His sister, who was on the phone with him and crisis negotiators, and police officers asked him to drop his gun.
Saiki then turned his 9 mm handgun on himself, the letter said.
“The officers in this situation made every reasonable effort to safely contact Mr. Saiki without harm,” the letter said. “Unfortunately, this incident did not resolve peacefully and resulted in Mr. Saiki taking his own life.”
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