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Denver D.A. Meets With Public After Decision On Lincoln Street Shooting

DENVER (CBS) - Denver District Attorney Beth McCann held a public meeting Monday night at the Carla Madison Rec Center to discuss her decision to not charge a Denver police officer in the shooting death of Christopher Barela.

"I believe we need to be transparent about how we're making this decision," she told CBS4's Dominic Garcia.

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On July 1, 2019 Denver Police responded to reports of a man harassing drivers and flailing a gun while on Lincoln Street.

Investigators say Barela, created a confrontation between Alameda and 1st Avenues on Lincoln St. while on an RTD bus. He was asked to get off the bus, and the situation was reported to RTD officers.

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Those officers started looking for the suspect because they say he caused damage to the bus by breaking a windshield. They later spotted him at 7th and Lincoln and tried to talk with him. The suspect then pulled out a weapon, and a confrontation followed.

The suspect then fired a shot in the air at 8th Avenue and Lincoln and continued to walk north.

A Denver police officer found the suspect at around 10th Avenue and followed him from across the street. Investigators say the officer ordered the man to drop the gun, to which investigators say the suspect replied "no."

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Just before 11th Avenue, outside the CBS4 Studios, when the suspect was next to a mostly-vacant parking lot, the suspect fired in the air again and then lowered his arm toward the officer, officials say. That officer shot and killed the suspect.

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Beth McCann (credit: CBS)

"The officer who fired, saw him start to point the gun towards him as well as another officer. And there were other officers who were in the area who didn't really have any protection,"said McCann.

McCann said she reviewed surveillance video, officer interviews, and even walked the scene before making her decision. Denver resident Carl Watson heard about the meeting on Facebook and walked away satisfied with the explanation.

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"We need more meetings like this. We need more awareness. We need more people involved and we need more concern for our citizens. We need to make sure we're protected and the police are protected as well," Watson told CBS4's Dominic Garcia.

McCann says she's held a public meeting each time she's decided to not charge an officer in a shooting fatality. McCann adds that the public is more than welcome to review her files and video regarding the case. Anyone interested is asked to schedule an appointment by calling her office at 720-913-9000

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