DENVER — Denver Police said Thursday that it was "clear" a firearm was missed during a search of a car theft suspect which allowed that suspect whose hands were cuffed behind his back to shoot an officer at the downtown detention center earlier this week.
The incident began around 9 p.m. on Monday when members of the department's District 4 Impact Team which focuses on stolen vehicles spotted two vehicles next to each other, but stationary in the roadway near Kentucky Avenue and Lowell Boulevard.
Officers ran the plate of a Silver F250 and found that the vehicle's color did not match the color associated with the license plate. They also discovered it was reported stolen out of Aurora in early November.
Officers attempted to stop the truck, but the driver drove off before stopping at Lowell Boulevard and West Iowa Avenue.
The suspect, identified as 33-year-old Daniel Cheeseman, walked away from the vehicle, and officers searched him before taking him into custody, police said. During the search, officers found a handgun and suspected narcotics in a backpack.
Cheeseman arrived at the Downtown Detention Center around 11 p.m. The officers who transported him began doing paperwork with him still in the car, according to Matt Clark with DPD.
At one point one of the officers was standing in the doorway of the patrol car where the suspect was seated in the back seat.
"Without warning, the offender leaned to his right and discharged a round from his firearm at the officer who was in the back doorway there," Clark said. "The offender's hands were cuffed behind his back when the round was fired."
The officer, a seven-year veteran of the force, was shot in the neck in what Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas called a "through and through wound". He managed to move to the back of another vehicle and then behind another vehicle and got to safety. He was taken to the hospital and is now at home recovering.
A corporal and an officer in training were parked and inside the white vehicle (pictured below) unrelated to the transport of Cheeseman and grabbed their weapons when they heard the initial shot.
The corporal, who has been with the department since 2015, was sitting in the front passenger seat of the white vehicle and exited it as additional shots were fired by Cheeseman, Clark said.
"The corporal believed the offender was firing directly at him and quickly moved to the passenger side of the vehicle that was containing the offender," Clark said. Two vehicle defects were later found in his vehicle, according to Clark.
He discharged his weapon nine times hitting Cheeseman multiple times. He was taken to the hospital and is expected to survive, according to Clark.
Through the investigation, it was learned that Cheeseman was in possession of a Smith and Wesson 9mm handgun and fired four rounds from that gun at the detention center. That weapon was reported stolen out of Denver in September of this year.
Clark said that an internal affairs investigation would look at whether policy or procedures were violated. At this point, Clark said, it's not known where the gun was hidden, but when asked said there was no weapon in the car prior to Cheeseman being placed there.
Since he's still in the hospital Cheeseman has not yet been booked but faces charges of attempted murder of a peace officer and possession of a weapon by a previous offender, according to police.
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