Two Thornton police officers cleared of crime in fatal shooting of armed man

Two Thornton police officers who shot and killed an armed man in May will not face any criminal charges for the shooting.

On May 26, officers Stephen Stroud and John DeHaan shot 48-year-old Thomas Marquez, according to a decision letter from the Adams County District Attorney’s Office to interim Thornton Police Chief Cliff Brown.

At about 11 p.m. the night of the shooting, Stroud, who was on duty and in uniform, encountered Marquez in the parking lot of the Thornton Infrastructure Maintenance Center, 12450 Washington St., according to the letter.

Stroud described Marquez as disoriented and “very bizarre.” Stroud noticed “what (he) believed to be the grip of a handgun” in Marquez right pocket.

Stroud, who called for assistance, said Marquez did not heed commands to keep his hands away from his pockets, the letter said. DeHann arrived and both officers held Marquez at gunpoint, repeating multiple commands that Marquez raise his hands.

“Marquez is seen and heard making a ‘guttural yell,’ drawing his handgun from his right pocket, wheeling around to confront the officers, pointing his gun towards the officers,” the letter said.

Stroud’s body worn camera was on at the time of the shooting; DeHann’s was not activated. Investigators used police reports, videos, interviews and photographs, among other documentation and evidence, to reach a conclusion, the letter said.

The officers, fearing for their lives and for each other, fired at Marquez, the letter said. Marquez, who was armed with a Ruger semi-automatic .22-caliber long barrel handgun, was shot 12 times. A .22 caliber shell casing was found at the scene. Stroud reported seeing a muzzle flash from Marquez’s gun. Stroud fired three shots and DeHann nine.

Marquez died at the scene. At the time of the shooting, he had a .355 blood alcohol level, considered to be a severe rate of intoxication.

“Under the particular facts of this investigation, the actions” of the officers “were legally justified under Colorado law,” the letter said. The officers “were justified in using deadly physical force.”

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