Judge delays arraignment for suspect in Arvada officer shooting

The suspect’s attorneys told a judge they expect to be replaced by new lawyers, leading to a continuance.

GOLDEN, Colo. — The arraignment of a man accused of killing an Arvada police officer was delayed Friday after his public defenders told a judge that they expect to turn the case over to a new team of attorneys.

Sonny Almanza, 31, faces three counts of first-degree murder and six other charges in the shooting death of Officer Dillon Vakoff, 27.

Jefferson County District Judge Russell Klein reset the arraignment — a hearing where a suspect enters a plea — for March 31.

The incident occurred early in the morning of Sept. 11, 2022, outside an apartment in the 6700 block of West 51st Avenue.

According to court documents, a custody dispute between Almanza and the mother of his children led to a fight in the street. According to an arrest affidavit, Almanza told investigators that he didn’t know police officers were present when he started shooting.

Almanza is also accused of injuring a woman in the same incident.

Almanza had previous charges for multiple weapons-related offenses and a previous conviction for first-degree assault, according to court records.

He remains in custody and was denied bail.

Contact 9Wants to Know investigator Kevin Vaughan with tips about this or any story: kevin.vaughan@9news.com or 303-871-1862.

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