Birendra Thakuri thought his neighbors were trying to kill him the morning before he was fatally shot by police.
The quiet Thakuri home, tucked away at the end of a cul-de-sac in a middle-class Broomfield neighborhood, awoke to Thakuri’s screams and tantrums at 5 a.m. on Aug. 25. Thakuri believed people were trying to kill him, according to police notes from a 911 call made by his mother.
Thakuri had been diagnosed with ADHD two months earlier, said Anjula Adhikari, a close family friend speaking on behalf of the family. The morning of Birendra Thakuri's breakdown, his mother, Sanu Thakuri, had called police to try to hospitalize her son and get him to take his medication, according to police documents obtained by the Denver Post.
The rest of the day ebbed and flowed with altercations and disagreements. Birendra Thakuri’s fears of being killed were not new. Sanu Thakuri had called police days earlier about past breakdowns. Birendra Thakuri even called the police on his mother at one point, claiming she had assaulted him while trying to force him to take his medication, according to the police records.
Birendra Thakuri's older brother, Surendra Thakuri, had been diagnosed with a mental disability, according to Adhikari, speaking on behalf of the family. Adhikari described him as "childlike" and "innocent." He would sometimes hear voices, she said.
After a day of fighting with their mother, the two brothers went for walk to "calm down," according to police documents. It was the last time Birendra Thakuri's mother would see him alive.
Later that night, unaware of her son's death, the mother called 911 again. She was concerned that her sons were still not home and that they might have substituted recreational drugs for their medication, according to notes from her 911 call.
After dusk, 911 reports of “several” men fighting started coming in from the quiet, upscale Ranch Reserve neighborhood. The alleged altercation continued until the Thakuri brothers encountered a responding Westminster police officer. Birendra Thakuri was fatally shot when he did not comply with the officer’s commands, police said. Surendra Thakuri was arrested on suspicion of second degree assault on a police officer and released later the next morning.
Records of Surendra Thakuri’s arrest, 911 phone calls from the area about the alleged fight and other documents related to the incident have been sealed during the ongoing investigation, police said. Westminster police officers do not wear body cameras, Westminster police department investigator Cheri Spottke said.
The Nepali community has been reeling in the wake of Birendra Thakuri’s death. Many have said they believe the incident was racially motivated.
Akriti Toudel, a Denver high school senior originally from Nepal, worries that the incident has inspired racial animus against Nepali people. Scrolling through Facebook, Toudel was struck by comments praising the officer for shooting Thakuri.
“I am constantly scared that if I do get pulled over something might happen,” Toudel said.
Others have asked why the officer could not have used non-lethal force.
More than a week after her son's death, Sanu Thakuri chuckles at old memories before her laughter turns to tears, Adhkari said. After watching his brother's death, Surendra Thakuri rarely eats. He spends his days wearing his brother's clothes and flipping through old family photo albums.
"They took my brother, they took a piece of my heart," Surendra Thakuri told Adhkari.