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15-year-old Santiago's worker critically injured after exchanging gunfire with customer

Commerce City Police said the customer involved in the shooting has contacted them.

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Commerce City Police on Friday the customer who exchanged gunfire with a 15-year-old employee of a Mexican restaurant, which resulted in the employee being critically injured, has contacted them.

Joanna Small, a spokeswoman for the Commerce City Police Department, said officers were initially called to a report of an active shooter at Santiago’s at East 72nd Avenue and Highway 85 just after 4 p.m. Thursday.

"When we arrived, we determined there was one victim, which was a relief in some regard," Small told 9NEWS.

Through the investigation, police determined that the teen and a customer got into an argument inside the restaurant that then moved to the parking lot where the two exchanged gunfire.

"There were shell casings scattered around their patio," Small said. "So this was not just one or two shots. This was a shooting – a back-and-forth shooting."

The teen was hit and critically wounded. Small said on Friday that investigators had been told that he is expected to survive.

The customer jumped into a car driven by a woman that left the restaurant before police arrived. A few blocks away, that woman pulled over and called 911. At that time, the customer got out of the car and left the area, police said.

On Saturday, police said the customer involved in the shooting had contacted them, and that they would release an update on the investigation early next week.

A woman and two children who were passengers in the vehicle were not hurt and not involved in the shooting or altercation, according to police. 

Credit: Commerce City Police Department
The customer's vehicle sustained damage during the shooting outside Santiago's Mexican Restaurant Thursday.

Detectives have identified the customer but he has not been located. Police are reviewing surveillance footage of the incident to determine whether charges should be filed against either of the two who were involved.

Investigators would like to speak with the customer as well as any witnesses who have not yet spoke with police. They should reach out directly to Detective Sergeant Aragon at 303-727-3901. 

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