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Former CU Buffs, Broncos player pleads not guilty by reason of insanity to attempted murder charge

An affidavit says Justin Bannan, 41, shot a woman during a drug-induced state where he was claiming the mafia was after him.

BOULDER, Colo. — Former NFL player Justin Bannan pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges including first-degree attempted murder stemming from an October 2019 incident.

The former University of Colorado Buffalo and Denver Bronco defensive linemen is charged in connection to a Boulder incident where an arrest affidavit says he shot a woman during a drug-induced state where he claimed the mafia was after him. 

> Video above: Report on Bannan's arrest from October 2019.

Bannan faces the following charges:

  • Attempted first-degree murder
  • First-degree assault – extreme indifference
  • First-degree assault – intent to cause serious bodily injury 
  • First-degree burglary

His next court appearance is scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. on September 4.

RELATED: Case moves forward for former CU Buffs player accused of shooting acupuncturist

RELATED: Former Broncos, CU Buffs player accused of shooting acupuncturist

Police initially responded to Black Lab Sports at 3550 Frontier Ave. in Boulder on Oct. 16 to investigate a reported shooting.

The victim, an acupuncturist who worked in the building, was suffering from a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to her right shoulder and was taken to Boulder County Community Health to be treated for her injuries, according to the Boulder Police Department (BPD).

The victim was at Element 6, a separate business located inside Black Lab Sports, according to an arrest affidavit. She told police she arrived at work, opened her unlocked therapy room door and was immediately shot.

She said she saw Bannan, who she only recognized from brief encounters in the hallway, sitting in the corner of the small room and said, "What the (expletive), you just shot me," to which he replied, "I'm sorry, the Russian Mafia is after me," according to the arrest affidavit.

Responding officers later found a man matching Bannan's description sitting at a table talking to another male on the west side of the building, the affidavit says. He had two bags with him — a duffel bag and a backpack — and two guns were found inside the backpack, according to the affidavit.

Bannan was taken into custody without incident and the affidavit says he told police he suffers from hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus is a condition in which excessive cerebrospinal fluid builds up in the brain, often causing increased pressure.

Bannan also said he got rid of his cell phone because someone was using it to track him, according to the affidavit, and later told investigators that the Russian Mafia was after him.

Police also found Bannan to be in possession of a rolled-up $20 bill and a "white powdery residue" that later tested presumptive positive for cocaine, according to the affidavit. Bannan was also "sweating profusely" and his "body temperature appeared to be very warm," during initial questioning, the affidavit says.

Bannan was transported to a nearby hospital and medically cleared before returning to the police station, the affidavit says.

Bannan said during the next questioning that he went to the "dark room" inside Black Lab Sports to hide and that the shooting was an "accident" and that he "didn't mean to shoot her," the affidavit says. 

Bannan was a former defensive tackle for the Broncos and also played for the CU Buffs from 1997 to 2001. He is the co-founder of Black Lab Sports, according to his LinkedIn profile.

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