The vehicle of a suspect involved in a shooting at 39th and Osage in Denver sits after slamming into a tree.
The vehicle of a suspect involved in a shooting at 39th and Osage in Denver sits after slamming into a tree. (AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post)

Four suspects were in custody, but a manhunt continued for a fifth, after a Denver Police officer was wounded Wednesday afternoon in northwest Denver.

According to police, five people were taken to Denver Health Medical Center — four injured, including the officer, and one person who was dead on arrival.

One of the injured was in critical condition with a gunshot wound. A woman was injured in the car crash that ended the pursuit and one person was bitten by a police dog.

Multiple police sources identified the injured officer as Sgt. Robert Motyka and said his injuries were non-life threatening.

Sources say he was shot in the shoulder and in good spirits.

West 34th Ave. and Mariposa Street, Denver CO

Police Chief Robert White said police are still "putting together the pieces of several crime scenes" but said that Denver police were informed earlier in the day by Adams County authorities about a "mini-crime spree" involving the occupants of a red pickup truck. The crimes included incidents of domestic violence and shooting.

Police were on the lookout for the vehicle when, according to a police tweet, the incident began before 3:30 p.m. near West 34th Avenue and Mariposa Street. John White, Denver police spokesman, said this was followed by a short pursuit ended at in a crash near West 39th Avenue and Osage Street.


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Denver Police set up a command post at West 38th Avenue and Pecos Street as they continued to hunt for the remaining suspect. Police described the remaining suspect as 6-feet 2-inches tall, Hispanic, wearing a white hoodie.

Police request if you are in a house in the area surrounding West 40th Avenue and Osage Street, that you remain in your home until directed otherwise.

Clay Schmitt said he was in his backyard at West 36th Avenue and Osage when he heard gunfire and decided to check it out.

Police secure the area near 39th and Pecos where a police officer was injured during what witnesses described as a red Dodge truck wrecking into a tree and
Police secure the area near 39th and Pecos where a police officer was injured during what witnesses described as a red Dodge truck wrecking into a tree and a man exiting the truck who began shooting and fled on foot on Wednesday, January, 16, 2013. (AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post)

He said he saw a truck driving down the street with a man in the bed, hurtling computer parts and hubcaps at dozens of squad cars that were following behind.

"I had guessed at that point he was out of bullets and he was doing whatever else he could," Schmitt said. "It was just cop car after cop car doing 60 miles per hour."

Schmitt said other neighbors ducked for cover or ran inside their houses at the sound of the bullets.

At least 12 cop cars and SWAT remained in the area late in the afternoon.

Adams County Sheriff is assisting Denver police with search dogs, White said.

Heavy police activity was continuing after 4:30 p.m.

"All of a sudden the cops just swarmed the neighborhood," said witness Juan Fernandez.

"Your heart just stops when you hear this crazy stuff," said 26-year-old mother Lena Marquez, walking with her 4-year-old daughter. Trina, a few blocks from the crime scene as media helicopters buzzed overhead.

"It can happen anywhere. Seriously, I wonder what kind of world our kids are going to live in."

Kristy Armstrong, spokeswoman for Denver Public Schools said at 5:45 p.m. that Bryant Webster Elementary School and Trevista at Horace Mann are under "controlled release." All parents need to pickup students and show ID.

Justice High School and Columbian Elementary are no longer on lockdown. DPS said.

School buses that were already en route to drop off students at the schools within the perimeter are holding the students on the buses until police allow them to get off.

Our La Casa Community Health Center is currently closed due to police activity in the area, Denver Health tweeted.

Denver Post Staff Writer Yesenia Robles contributed to this report.

Ryan Parker: 303-954-2409, rparker@denverpost.com or twitter.com/ryanparkerdp