The Mesa County Coroner’s Office has completed its examination regarding the death involving law enforcement which occurred in the area of 2837 North Avenue on 04/28/23. The decedent has been identified as 47-year-old Rafael Lopez-Leon of Grand Junction. Following the incident, Mr. Lopez-Leon was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after. The cause of death was ruled to be multiple gunshot wounds.
The Grand Junction Police Department is releasing the following information on behalf of the 21st Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) about an officer-involved shooting that occurred on 04/28/23 involving the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.
On 04/28/23, at approximately 4:35pm, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office responded to the area of 2837 North Avenue to contact a vehicle suspected of eluding law enforcement during a traffic stop earlier in the afternoon. Once in contact with the driver of the vehicle, an officer-involved shooting occurred. Law enforcement personnel rendered life saving measures until paramedics arrived on scene. The suspect was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced deceased. The Mesa County Coroner’s Office will be responsible for releasing the name of the decedent. No deputies were injured in this incident. There is no ongoing threat to the community and there is no further information at this time.
It is important to note that this investigation is in the early stages, and this preliminary information is subject to change. Members of the Critical Incident Response Team have been and will continue to conduct interviews of witnesses and involved persons in this case over the coming days. Additional details will be released as appropriate, with sensitivity to the ongoing investigation.
The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office will be responsible for releasing the name of their involved deputy. As is standard protocol with any officer-involved shooting, the Mesa County Sheriff’s deputy involved is currently on paid administrative leave. An internal investigation will take place separately from the criminal investigation being conducted by the CIRT. This incident remains under investigation by the CIRT.
All officer-involved shootings in Mesa County are investigated by the 21st Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team, which is comprised of representatives of the Grand Junction Police Department, Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, Fruita Police Department, Palisade Police Department, Colorado State Patrol, 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Colorado Department of Corrections-Division of Adult Parole, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. The CIRT is activated when a law enforcement agency is involved in a critical incident to ensure an independent investigation. Because Mesa County Sheriff’s Office personnel were involved in this incident, the Grand Junction Police Department is leading this investigation on behalf of the CIRT.