DENVER — A preschool teacher said she still cannot walk normally or go to work more than three months after she was accidentally shot in the leg by Denver Police on a crowded LoDo street.
Angelica Rey, 23, said she was one of six bystanders hit in the early hours of July 17 when three Denver Police officers fired their guns on a crowded Larimer Street as bars let out. DPD said officers shot toward Jordan Waddy, an armed man they said had been involved in a fight, and pulled out a gun as officers approached.
Rey went to LoDo that night to celebrate a promotion; she had just been named lead teacher and would soon have her own preschool class to oversee. Looking back, she wishes she hadn't gone out at all: "because then I would still be living a normal life. I would still be able to go to work, I would still be able to drive," she said.
Rey said she cannot remember much about the shooting. She recalls hearing gunshots, running and falling down onto the pavement. At first, she thought she broke her ankle. Then she saw the blood.
"They shot my calf, it went in the back and out the front," she said. "I have nerve damage on the bottom of my foot, I can’t feel it at all. And they nicked an artery, that’s what caused the blood loss."
An officer applied a tourniquet and she received a blood transfusion at the Denver Health emergency room, she said. She was in the hospital for days -- and said her family had to help her navigate her house when she returned home.
"It's hard because my grandma was also helping me and my grandma should not be taking care of me, I should be taking care of her at 23 years old," Rey said.
Rey is continuing to attend physical therapy appointments and walks with a crutch. In the next month or two, she hopes to return to her preschool -- and the promotion she went out to celebrate.
"You can't really work with children if you're on a crutch and you can't really run after them," she said.
Waddy, the suspect police said they were trying to stop, appeared in court Thursday. He is set for a preliminary hearing on Nov. 16 and remains in custody.
Her lawyer said that they plan to sue the officer who shot Rey. Other lawsuits from other victims are likely as well. At the request of Denver District Attorney Beth McCann (D), a grand jury is investigating whether the officers should face criminal charges.
Rey wants the officers held accountable. "If this was somebody else and not the police, then it would be a whole different story," she said.
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