DENVER — The handcuffed man seen in a video shooting and wounding a Denver Police officer inside the sally port of the downtown jail had a second weapon and holster hidden in his waistband.
That's according to a decision letter from the Denver District Attorney that outlines her reasoning for not charging the Denver Police officer who returned fire and wounded Daniel Cheeseman in November.
Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said in a letter Wednesday that the officer accurately assessed the danger and acted "reasonably in response."
>The video above is a prior report about the shooting.
Denver Police said officers stopped Cheeseman on Nov. 28, 2022, in a suspected stolen car. He walked away from the vehicle, and officers searched him before taking him into custody. During the search, officers found one handgun and suspected narcotics in a backpack, police said.
The officers missed a second handgun and a holster, the DA's letter reveals.
Officers transported Cheeseman to the Downtown Denver Detention Center. Cheeseman is seen on video sitting upright in the rear seat while the door is open, and he's talking with the officer who was later be shot. At one point, Cheeseman stands in the car doorway and his actions are partially blocked by the door, the letter says.
The officer later explained that "something seemed off" during that interaction with Cheeseman and he made him return to his seat in the vehicle. Cheeseman was still handcuffed with his hands behind his back.
The officer went on to say that Cheeseman's right hand was underneath his shirt a little bit. The officer said he had "just a weird feeling," the letter says.
He said he was reaching for Cheeseman's right hand, which he could not see, when Cheeseman suddenly leaned to his right and fired at least one shot. The window of the door shattered, and the officer was struck in the neck.
The injured officer was taken to Denver Health Medical Center and treated for his injuries. Another officer fired back nine times, hitting Cheeseman multiple times.
When Cheeseman was pulled from the vehicle and placed on the ground, officers noticed a holster inside his back waistband, the DA letter says. They found a semi-automatic pistol in the windbreaker he was wearing.
Investigators later determined that a total of 13 rounds were fired. Nine were fired by the officer, the other four were fired by Cheeseman from his gun, according to the letter. That gun was still loaded when it was recovered from him at that jail, according to the letter.
Cheeseman is charged with 25 felony counts that include 13 counts of attempted murder and eight counts of assault or attempted assault. He's next due in court on May 25.
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