A Denver police officer fatally shot a man who was holding a marker pen that the officer mistakenly believed was a knife, officials said on Monday. Body-camera footage of the killing of Brandon Cole, 36, on August 5 shows an officer firing two shots at Cole on a sidewalk. A young child and a woman were standing close behind as the officer fired at him and he fell to the ground, the Guardian reports. Officials said a neighbor had called 911 to report potential domestic violence involving Cole, his wife and his teenage son. Matt Clark, a police commander, said the neighbor reported that the woman may have been pushed out of her wheelchair and that Cole was “going after” his son.
Denver Police Chief on Thomas, called the shooting a “tremendous tragedy” but defended the officer’s decision to fire two fatal shots in close range near two bystanders: “You can see in the video that when she finally deploys her duty weapon, the person is so close to her that the view of the young child and other person are not even clear to her. Certainly that was a consideration, but there was not much time to act before she was overrun by that individual.” The district attorney will review the incident. Investigators said it appeared only one probe from a stun gun hit Cole, and that did not stop him from heading toward the female officer. The video shows the black marker pen falling on the ground as Cole collapsed. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.