The suspected drunk driver who was fatally shot by an Adams County Sheriff’s Office deputy nearly two weeks ago has been identified as Robert Penning, a 45-year-old Denver resident.
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Paul Gregory said Penning’s name, which was briefly withheld at the request of his family, was first released by the Adams County Coroner’s Office on Jan. 18 before being confirmed by the Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 22
Gregory also confirmed that Senior Deputy Manuel Aragon, the deputy who allegedly shot Penning, has been placed on paid administrative leave while the Adams County Critical Incident Team investigates the shooting.
Adams County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Terrance O’Neill said the shooting happened around 6 p.m. on Jan. 14 shortly after two deputies were dispatched to a stretch of road near East 142nd Avenue and Quebec Street to respond to a Report Every Drunk Driver Immediately (REDDI) call.
O’Neill said the caller was following Penning’s car and reported to dispatchers that he had flipped over his dark-colored sedan to the side of the road.
At the scene, deputies reported that Penning had sustained a heavy amount of damage to his car and was crouched down by the caller’s car with what appeared to be a case a beer.
O’Neill said one of the deputies was assessing the Penning’s condition by asking him questions and giving verbal instructions, when he stood up and pointed a handgun at them. Aragon then drew his weapon and fired two rounds at Penning, who then fell to the ground.
Brighton and Thornton Fire Departments personnel attempted to render aid, but soon pronounced him dead at the scene. The Adams County Coroner’s Office later wrote in a Jan. 18 press release that Penning had died “as a result of a single gunshot wound to the chest.”