DENVER — Authorities launched a manhunt Sunday after a decorated police detective was slain and another was wounded as they were working off-duty as security officers at a celebration in west Denver.
Police said they were looking for a tattooed male suspect, age 20 to 25. Police Chief Gerry Whitman said he considered the suspect dangerous.
“He ambushed this police officer without warning, shot two police officers. I think he’s very dangerous,” Whitman said. “For the safety of other officers and the community, we need to get this guy off the street right now.”
The slain detective was identified as Donald R. Young, a married father of two and a recipient of the police Medal of Honor and other awards. He was approached from the back and shot multiple times as he worked security for an event at a hall often used for birthday parties and baptisms, Whitman said. It was not immediately clear whether Young was wearing a bulletproof vest.
Detective John H. Bishop, who was wearing a vest, also was shot. He was treated for a minor wound on his back and released from Denver Health Medical Center.
Neither Young nor Bishop was able to return fire. Two other officers who were nearby rushed to their aid and saw a man fleeing the area armed with what appeared to be a weapon.
Both officers were in uniform but working off-duty, police said. One witness said the officers were shot when they refused to allow a person inside.
Two people were in custody Sunday including one man who appeared to match the description who was arrested on other charges, but it was unclear whether he was involved in the slaying, Whitman said.
Crime Stoppers offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and charges in the case.
The shooting occurred shortly before 1 a.m. while dozens of people were still inside the hall. Some witnesses said they heard five shots.
Young is survived by his wife and two young daughters.
He graduated from the police academy in December 1993 and had worked with the vice-narcotics unit and domestic violence unit. He was assigned to the fugitive-bomb squad when he died, police said.