Grand Junction police shooting of Joseph Mendez justified review finds


Two Grand Junction police officers who fired shots at an armed man in December will not face criminal charges, according to a review letter by the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office.

Joseph Mendez, 28, was shot on Dec. 6 after pointing a handgun police and then running into a field near a hotel and other businesses, according to the review letter dated Thursday.

Officer Jose “Joey” Gonzalez, who fired two shots at Mendez, and Officer Micah Conrads, who fired one shot striking Mendez, “were acting in self-defense and defense of each other,” police shooting investigators found.

Police were called to the Red Roof Inn in response to a domestic violence incident and they were warned that Mendez was armed with a Glock 9mm handgun and that he had threatened to take his own life.

The officers found Mendez in the hotel lobby, and he pointed a gun at Colorado State Patrol Trooper Jacob Best, according to the review. At that point, Gonzalez fired two shots a Mendez, who then fled into a field east of the hotel.

Multiple officers ran after Mendez, shouting for him to stop and to drop the weapon. Mendez disregarded the orders, the review said.

Conrads fired one shot at Mendez, hitting him in the back, as the suspect was about to run into the cover of tall grass, the review said.


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