An Arvada police officer was fatally shot early Sunday while “responding to a large family disturbance” near the city’s border with Denver and Wheat Ridge.
The Arvada Police Department said the officer, Dillon Michael Vakoff, was responding to the call on the 6700 block of West 51st Avenue when he was killed. That’s just northeast of the Interstate 76 and Interstate 70 interchange.
Arvada police Chief Link Strate said officers “arrived to a chaotic scene, with multiple people in the street” when the suspect began firing a gun.
Police said a suspect, who was wounded in an exchange of gunfire with police, was in custody and that “there is no threat to the community.”
The suspect is expected to survive his injuries. His name was not immediately released.
A woman was also shot and wounded by the suspect, police said. She, too, is expected to survive her injuries.
Vakoff was 27 years old. He started with the Arvada Police Department in 2019 after serving in the Air Force for six years. He was a 2012 graduate of Ralston Valley High School in Arvada.
“Dillon is an example of everything that is good about a police officer,” Strate said. “He was training toward becoming a SWAT officer.”
The department didn’t immediately release further details.
“This is an ongoing, active investigation and the information we have at this time is preliminary,” Strate said at a news conference Sunday morning.
The last Arvada police officer killed in the line of duty was Gordon Beesley. Beesley was shot and killed on June 21, 2021, by Ronald Troyke, who had written a manifesto professing his hatred of the Arvada police.
Troyke was killed moments later by an armed bystander, Johnny Hurley. Hurley was then mistakenly killed by a responding Arvada officer.
The officer is part of the Denver police fugitive unit. A man wanted in a homicide investigation was killed.
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