Man fatally shot on a Denver bus after approaching teen, getting into argument, police say

Feb 15, 2024, 11:42 AM | Updated: 3:20 pm

DENVER (AP) — A 13-year-old accused of fatally shooting a man on a Denver bus opened fire in the middle of an argument after the man approached the teen and his friends at the back of the bus, according to court documents released Thursday.

Police had previously said that the Jan. 27 shooting happened after a “verbal exchange” between the teen and 60-year-old Richard Sanchez over Sanchez’s leg blocking the aisle.

According to surveillance video and witnesses, Sanchez first exchanged words with three juveniles after they got on the bus and they jumped over or stepped over his legs to get to the back of the bus, police said in the arrest affidavit for the 13-year-old. Shortly after the teen was seated on a raised seat at the back, Sanchez approached and got up on the platform, it said. In the middle of a “verbal altercation,” the teen reached into a sweatshirt, pulled out a handgun and fired seven times, it said.

The 13-year-old and the two other juveniles then got off the bus, stepping over Sanchez, who had collapsed near the bus’ back door, it said. One of the other juveniles was also apparently armed, pointing what appeared to be a handgun at Sanchez on the floor on the way out, the affidavit said.

An online fundraiser organized by Sanchez’s family says he was on his way home to his daughters and grandsons when he was shot.

The affidavit was released after prosecutors confirmed the teen had been charged with first-degree murder and other crimes in juvenile court.

The Denver District Attorney’s Office is still considering whether to try to prosecute the 13-year-old as an adult, a decision which would ultimately be up to a judge, office spokesperson Maro Casparian said Thursday.

The teen’s name has not been released because he is a juvenile.

The charges filed against the boy, which were first reported by The Denver Post, include two different kinds of first-degree murder charges alleging that he both killed someone after deliberation and by showing extreme indifference to human life.

The charges also include counts such as assault and endangering a public transport crew, which are felonies, and possessing a gun as a juvenile, which is a misdemeanor.

The arrest affidavit was heavily redacted and it was not always clear which juvenile police were referring to. One person told investigators that one of the juveniles said someone had been hurt and expressed regret but refused to say whether they were referring to the bus shooting after the other person learned about it in news reports.

It took a few days for police to find the juveniles but they were helped because at least one of them had been contacted by police before. They were also assisted by school administrators in identifying the juveniles based on the surveillance images.

National News

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Man fatally shot on a Denver bus after approaching teen, getting into argument, police say