Message to the Community on the Murder of Officer Vakoff

GOLDEN, Colo. (Sept. 14, 2022) – The investigation into the murder of Arvada Police Officer Dillon Vakoff is ongoing. District Attorney Alexis King mourns this tremendous loss with Officer Vakoff’s loved ones, the Arvada Police Department, and the community. To protect the integrity of the investigation, and to ensure that the defendant can receive a fair trial, additional case facts cannot be released at this time. District Attorney King appreciates the dedication and discretion of the Arvada Police Department and ensures the community that every resource of her office is devoted to the pursuit of justice for Officer Vakoff, consistent with her commitment to ethical and effective prosecutions.  

On September 13, 2022, Sonny Almanza DOB 6-8-91 was arrested for the murder of Officer Vakoff and the attempted murder of another person, on charges of First Degree Murder of a Peace Officer, Attempt to Commit Murder in the First Degree, Possession of a Weapon by a Previous Offender, and two counts of Child Abuse. Mr. Almanza is being held without bond. Today, he appeared before the Jefferson County Court and was advised of the arrest charges. District Attorney Alexis King will determine and file formal charges against Mr. Almanza next week. Mr. Almanza will then appear to be advised of those formal charges on September 20, 2022.  

A parallel investigation by the First Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) continues, as is standard in any incident in which a law enforcement officer within the First Judicial District uses deadly force, or attempts to use deadly force, against a person while acting under the color of official law enforcement duties. As part of a commitment with her law enforcement partners, the CIRT team is comprised of highly trained and skilled investigators working under District Attorney King’s authority and appointed from multiple law enforcement agencies, including her office. This multi-jurisdictional team of objective, dispassionate professionals protect the integrity of the investigation by exercising independent judgment in conducting a thorough investigation. To maintain transparency and reduce conflict of interest, officers from the involved agency do not perform critical duties related to the CIRT investigation.