When this happens in movies, we don’t believe it. You know the deal: in a gunfight with masked mopes, the off-duty cop fires right down the barrel of the bad guy’s pistol, hopelessly jamming the breech.
Well, it really happened, this January, and here’s proof, from the Jefferson County (Colorado) Sheriff’s Office:
That’s a .40 XDM with a face full of .45, self-swaged in the .40 barrel.
Here’s a video with some more details:
“I’m not dying today. Not today. Another day, maybe. It’s not my time yet,” is what Jeffco SO Deputy José Marquez told himself when the gunfight kicked off with two masked and hooded thugs attacking him. Did they want to kill him? Kill his girlfriend and her kids? Rob them?
What they wanted didn’t really matter. It was live or die for Marquez. Fortunately, according to the official report by the DA, he had a good background:
Deputy Marquez stated … is a Deputy Sheriff with Jefferson County Civil Unit. He has been a Deputy with JCSO for almost 11 years (hired 4-18-2005). Prior to JCSO, he was a Summit County Sheriff Office Deputy for almost 10 years, and a Frisco Police Department Officer for almost one year. He was on the SWAT Team while with SCSO, and received specialized training via the Denver Police Department SWAT School. He last served on SWAT in 2001. Prior to his law enforcement career, he served eight years in the United States Army Reserve as a Combat Engineer and Supply Sergeant. He is right-handed, but can shoot from both sides, with both hands.
Go, Army. Beat Gangland.
…arrived at Ms. R.’s at about 5:45p.m. Some daylight remained when he arrived. He was armed with his duty weapon, a silver and black XDM .45 ACP. He has owned that handgun for three or four years, and has qualified with it. He had no other guns on his person. He carried his pistol in an open-top manufacturer’s holster, on his right side. His pistol was fully loaded, with thirteen rounds in the magazine and one round in the chamber. His ammunition was duty-issued hollow-point ammunition. He had an extra magazine in his car, but did not have it on his person, as he “wasn’t ready for a fight.” His pistol was concealed under his jacket. He had no visible Police badge, as his badge was in his wallet. Deputy Marques said that he is farsighted, and wears Oakley Crosslink vision glasses. He was wearing them during this incident.
So it wound up being XDM versus XDM in this case.
Then he saw two guys, and something was off about them.
The first male was wearing something over his face – either a mask, bandana, or part of his hoodie. The male already had his face covered when Deputy Marquez first saw him. The first male said, “Hello brother,” as he approached Deputy Marquez. He was about 20-25 feet away from his car when the first male said, “Hello brother.” Deputy Marquez had not yet made it to the sidewalk on the west side of the parking lot. He could only see the eyes and nose of the male. He could not see the male’s mouth or jaw. Deputy Marquez said: “Right away I knew something was up, cause he had a, a, a facemask.”
Deputy Marquez described the first male as follows: About 17-21 years old, 5’7”-5’9”, 155 pounds, wearing all dark clothing. Deputy Marquez knew he was a male as he could see around the eyes, and from the top lip to the nose on the male’s face, but could not comment on the tone of the male’s skin. He described the second male as follows: About 17-21 years old, same height and weight as the first male, wearing all dark clothing, possibly blue jeans. Deputy Marquez believed this male was also wearing a mask, but could not be sure, as he was focused on the first male. The second male was about 12 inches to the left of the first male, as they both approached from the south. This second male never said anything to Deputy Marquez.
The DA’s office is a bit hinky about identifying suspects by race (indeed, they seem to scrub it even from witness descriptions) but with this case they appear to have a reason, in that Marquez did not know who was coming to kill him. In a later interview, he remembered that his assailants were black.
Deputy Marquez described the suspects as two African-American males, between 16 and 20, wearing dark clothing, including hoodies.
Back to the developing situation….
No one else was outside during this incident, besides the two males. As they passed each other, Deputy Marquez said that the first male “turned on me” and said, “Give it up.” At that time he knew something “bad” was about to happen, and he thought, “Oh shit, we’re getting into a shootout,” and he turned to face the first male. He took the phrase, “Give it up” to mean, “He’s trying to kill me.” Asked if he thought it could mean he was about to get robbed, Deputy Marquez said that was possible, but he had no idea at that point, because, “At that point, I’m fighting for my life.”
Bear in mind, that, as we have seen in many shooting videos, Deputy Jose Marquez is describing in minutes actions and impressions that passed in bare seconds.
The first male then pulled out a black handgun and racked the slide as if to chamber a round or press-check the gun. That was the first time he saw a gun in the first male’s hands. Deputy Marquez again thought, “Oh shit. We’re going to fight.” When the first male said, “Give it up,” Deputy Marquez began to draw his weapon. As he did so, the first male fired a round at him, striking Deputy Marquez in either the right shoulder or the abdomen – he could not remember where he was first hit. He said that he saw the muzzle flash from the gun. He said: “At this point I told myself, ‘Shit, I’m going to die’.” He was in fear for his life. However, despite being hit, he could still lift his hand to fire. He said to himself, “I’m not dying today. Not today. Any other day, maybe. It’s not my time yet.” He also thought, “Fuck you, and you’re not taking me down.” He also told himself, “You’re the bad guy. I’m the good guy.”
Getting beaten to the first shot is bad, but it did make the DA’s job of investigating your shooting easier. But Marquez was late to the gunfight, already wounded, and he still had to survive. Fortunately he came up with a warrior attitude when he needed it: “I’m not dying today. Not today. ….Fuck you, and you’re not taking me down.”
Deputy Marquez said that he drew his weapon and started shooting. He believed he fired two rounds. He was standing in place, in a shooter’s stance, as he was firing. He fired in a northeast direction. The first male continued firing, hitting Deputy Marquez in the shoulder, and left and right sides of his abdomen. (He also suffered a broken rib on the right side, but was unclear if that was a result of a gunshot or not.)
Deputy Marquez said: “He kept shooting at me, like he was going to kill me.” The first male “shot about four rounds toward me.” The first male was standing still as he fired. The first male fired in a west or northwest direction. Deputy Marquez and the males were about 25 feet apart when they were shooting at each other. He thought he hit one of the males (unknown which one) in the leg. Asked how he knew that, he said his friend of 20 years, David Lynes, a Cherry Hills Village Police Department Officer, told him that after the fact. Deputy Marquez felt, in his mind, that he hit one of the suspects, but was not sure where, and did not see either male flinch as if they had been hit.
Tough shootout, and by some measures, Marquez lost the gunfight. But he did well enough to survive, and he thwarted his assailants’ objective, whether it was to rob him or (as seems more likely) to murder him.
Deputy Marquez fell to the ground, and put his hand on his wounds, but resolved that it was not a good day to die. Some civilians came to him, including an African-American female who said, “I saw them shoot you.”
She was probably the witness identified as E.G. in the report. The witnesses are not identified by full names due to the circumstances of the shooting, and the fact that one of the shooters remains at large. (More on the investigation in a moment).
Deputy Marquez confirmed that he was not robbed, and they did not take anything from him. Asked if at any time he told the suspects he was a Police Officer, Deputy Marquez said, “No, I didn’t have time to even announce myself. At, at that point I’m just fighting for my life.”
So why would anybody want to kill him?
He has received no threats from anyone, and has had no recent issues with anyone, personally or professionally, that might be linked to this shooting. He had no road rage incidents, and had never seen the two males before. Personally, Ms. R. has been having problems with her ex-husband, David R., who sent her a suspicious package recently, but Deputy Marquez had no evidence that was linked to this shooting. And professionally, the only possible JCSO-related party he could think of that might have something against him was a suspect named Antonio Garcia who went to prison on March 28, 2015 for a stolen gun, but Garcia was still in prison to his knowledge. Deputy Marquez believed the incident could have been a robbery, or “it could be a hit,” but again had no evidence to support it being a hit.
On a later interview, Deputy Marquez remembered more:
Deputy Marquez said the male who did the talking is the male who shot first, and he saw two different muzzle flashes coming from two different guns. Deputy Marquez said only one person did the talking. Deputy Marquez said he could only guess in reference to the shots fired. Deputy Marquez believed that they had shot four (4) times and when they ran away they shot four (4) more times as they ran off east. Deputy Marquez said he thought he had only shot two (2) times, and when the males ran off they were shooting at him not aiming. Deputy Marquez then collapsed but did not lose consciousness.
Deputy Marquez said that one male was on the left and the other on the right approximately twelve (12’) inches apart from each other. Deputy Marquez was concentrating on the muzzle flashes, right then left, left then right, and described the shooting as an exchange between all three of them.
The Guns Involved
Both of the would-be hitmen carried .40 pistols, and Marquez a Springfield XDM in .45. Marquez:
The Cop’s Gun
He was armed with his duty weapon, a silver and black XDM .45 ACP. He has owned that handgun for three or four years, and has qualified with it.
…Deputy Marquez had gunshot wounds to his stomach and shoulder. Deputy Marquez’s gun was lying on the pavement. Mr. C. described how some of the gunshots sounded “different”, and thinks Deputy Marquez got off two shots because he carries a ‘big” pistol.
Prior to the interview a bullet count was conducted on the gun that Deputy Marquez fired on the 26th of January 2016. The gun had been in Aurora Police Department Crime Laboratory in a secured locker.
The firearm was identified as a Springfield Armory, XDM serial number of MG505244. The bullet count confirmed a total of 10 rounds remaining in the firearm, 9 in the magazine and 1 in the chamber. The firearm has a capacity of 14, 13 +1. The ammunition was identified as Speer 45 auto, and was issued to Deputy Marquez by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Marquez confirmed this was the only gun he had on his person the 26th of January 2016, and the only gun he fired that night.
Found at the Crime Scene
APD Officer Nicholas Muldoon arrived on the South Laredo scene and contacted a witness identified as R.W. Mr. W was parked in a van on South Laredo Street. Mr. W said that he arrived shortly before the police and observed a male walk away from the car– Chevrolet Equinox–parked in front of his van. The male who walked away from the van was later identified as Jahlil Meshesha.
APD Officer Ken Forrest conducted a general search of the area and located two black gloves and a .40 caliber XDM Springfield handgun in the backyard of a nearby house. Officer Forrest observed one glove was in a juniper tree and the other was on the ground below. A short distance away, Officer Forrest located the handgun. Officer Forrest contacted the homeowner, who was identified as S.G. Mr. G. allowed Officer Forrest to check his back yard. Mr. G confirmed he had no knowledge of the pistol or glove in his backyard.
On the front passenger seat of the Chevrolet Equinox in plain view, Officer Forrest also observed a dark colored facial mask, described as consistent with being used to cover the lower face.
APD collected firearms related evidence from the scene. APD collected 12 expended .40 caliber shell casings, in two groups fairly close together. They also collected one fired bullet. They also collected four .45 caliber shell casings, which was the caliber of Deputy Marquez’s gun.
As previously stated, APD also recovered a .40 caliber Springfield Armory handgun associated with Jahlil Meshesha. Per APD firearms analyst Alan Hammond, this gun was a match for three of the .40 caliber shell casings found at the scene. Police also recovered a .45 projectile from Meshesha’s clothing, specifically his pants, which was a match for Deputy Marquez’s gun.
The weapon associated with Meshesha was examined. Of note, it was determined that one of the shots that Deputy Marquez fired from his .45 caliber handgun actually hit Meshesha’s .40 caliber handgun and traveled down the barrel, colliding with a cartridge that was in the chamber of the gun. Detective Ingui described this as a “one in a billion thing” in a personal conversation with the undersigned. This collision rendered the .40 caliber pistol temporarily inoperable. Thus, we can conclude that Meshesha fired three shots before this happened, based on the shell casings found at the scene, and that he was pointing his gun at Deputy Marquez when Deputy Marquez fired the shot that hit the gun, otherwise the shot from Deputy Marquez would not have gone down the barrel. Here is a photograph showing the results of this collision.
Unfortunately we don’t have Meshesha’s side of the story.
Jahlil Meshesha invoked his Miranda rights and did not make a statement.
A healthy society would have hanged him already.
The 26 January shooting is back in the news because the investigation is over and they wanted to announce to the public that Marquez is not going to face ay criminal charges. (Well, duh). His assailant went to hospital, then to jail.
He does have a long road to recovery ahead. As for the injuries to the assailant Jahlil Meshesha, all we can do is quote Marquez: F him.
The Denver Post:
Apologies for not posting the link to the DA’s report: