Arvada police officer will be honored at public funeral in Lafayette this Friday

Updated at 3:00 p.m.

Sonny Almanza made his first appearance in Jefferson County court Wednesday morning. 

The 31-year-old was informed that he was under arrest for first degree murder of a peace officer, attempted murder, possession of a weapon by a previous offender and two counts of child abuse. He is currently being held without bond.

District Attorney Alexis King is expected to file formal charges against Almanza next week. His next court appearance is scheduled for September 20, 2022.

“District Attorney King appreciates the dedication and discretion of the Arvada Police Department and ensures the community that every resource of her officer is devoted to the pursuit of justice for Officer Vakoff, consistent with her commitment to the ethical and effective prosecutions,” said a statement from King’s office.

The statement also noted that King’s office will not release additional information about the case in order to protect the integrity of the investigation.

The funeral for an Arvada police officer killed in the line of duty will be open to the public.

A memorial service for 27-year-old Dillon Michael Vakoff will be held Friday at 10 a.m., at Flatirons Community Church in Lafayette. The church will also livestream the event, which is being organized by the Colorado Fallen Hero Foundation. 

Arvada Police Department
Arvada police officer Dillon Vakoff was killed Sunday, September 11, 2022.

Vakoff was shot and killed Sunday while reporting to a crowd of “several belligerent and uncooperative individuals” in an Arvada neighborhood. The suspect also allegedly shot a female victim, who was transported to the hospital and survived her injuries. 

Police shot and injured the suspect, 31-year-old Sonny Thomas Almanza, who was later sent to a hospital. He faces several charges, including first-degree murder of a peace officer and child abuse. 

Almanza is expected in court Wednesday to hear the charges against him and to set bond. The Gazette reported Tuesday that he is still recovering from his injuries and missed his first scheduled court appearance.