DENVER — A man who was shot in the face by a Denver Police officer last week staged a hostage situation to avoid being arrested on warrants and was not armed with a gun when the officer shot him, the Denver Police Department (DPD) said Friday.
"From what we learned from the plan, the plan was just to create a scenario where officers believed there was a hostage scenario that they would presumably let them escape to the west without any other intervention," said DPD Commander Matt Clark at a news conference Friday.
He said Keith Mosley, 35, used his hand to simulate a weapon and that officers at the scene believed he was a holding a gun to the woman's head. On body camera footage that was released Friday a man is heard saying he's going to kill the woman.
The incident involving Mosley began about 11 p.m. Aug. 25 while officers were staking out a home on Josephine Street related to a road rage shooting that was reported hours earlier. The road rage victim reported that they were driving on northbound Interstate 25 near Colfax Avenue when another driver in a Ford began tailgating them. The victim said they moved over a lane and the suspect's vehicle passed them and a person pointed a gun at their vehicle.
Not long after, shots were fired, which resulted in the rear windshield of the victim's vehicle being shattered. The victim, who was not injured, called 911 and was told to pull over and wait for police but instead followed the suspect's vehicle to the area of 47th Avenue and Josephine Street, Clark said.
Officers went to that area and found the Ford abandoned. It was towed about 6:45 p.m. Clark said undercover officers remained in the area to conduct surveillance on a home that was near where the vehicle had been abandoned. About 11 p.m., officers saw a red truck, occupied by a man and woman, pull up to the home. Two people, a man and woman, exited the home and got into the cab of the truck, Clark said.
> The body camera video footage of the officer shooting, below, contains graphic images and may not be suitable for everyone. Viewer discretion is advised.
Officers tried to initiate a traffic stop in the 4700 block of Josephine Street by blocking the vehicle, but the driver went around them. The driver collided with a marked police vehicle and hit a tree before turning down 47th Street. Officers pursued the vehicle, and shots were fired toward officers, Clark said. Three spent shell casings were later found along the route of the pursuit, Clark said.
At one point, the truck driver was driving on the sidewalk. The pursuit came to an end when an officer used their vehicle to hit the suspect's truck, which caused the truck to roll onto its side.
For about 15 minutes, officers tried to make contact with the people inside the truck and eventually kicked in the windshield, Clark said. Mosley stepped out through that windshield.
"He was holding a female who he positioned between himself and the officers that were located across the street," Clark said. "The suspect appeared to be controlling her movement and using her as a human shield."
Clark went on to say that the man, identified as Mosley, walked backward with the victim with his hand behind her head. He pulled her to an area near a chain-link fence on the side of a home.
"Based upon statements from the male indicating that the female was a hostage and that he was going to kill her, coupled with the male's actions to control the female's actions while using her as a human shield, officers believed she was in significant danger and recognized that immediate action was necessary to save her life," Clark said.
A single officer fired on shot that struck Mosley in the face. Mosley and the woman both fell to the ground, and neither of them immediately complied with officers' commands, Clark said.
Eventually, Mosley crawled toward officers and was treated for his injuries and taken to a hospital. The woman surrendered and was taken to a hospital for treatment of a leg wound related to the rollover crash.
The two other people inside the red truck were arrested on unrelated warrants. Clark said that Mosley held a gun to the head of the man who was driving truck and told him not to pull over for the police.
Watch the full DPD news conference below:
When police got a search warrant for the home on Josephine Street, they found two people inside. Both of them were initially taken into custody on warrants. One of them, Julio Cesar Salomon-Madera, 33, was determined to be the suspect in the original road-rage shooting.
Three guns were found around the truck. One was in the roadway near the rolled truck. A second gun was under the truck after it was put upright. A third weapon was later found behind the glove box. No weapons were found near the area where Mosley was shot, Clark said.
The red truck was determined to be stolen during a prior burglary.
Mosley is being held on charges of attempted murder and assault, and kidnapping related to the allegations that he forced the truck's driver to drive away at gunpoint.
Salomon-Madera faces charges of attempted murder in the road-rage incident.
The officer who fired the shot that hit Mosley has been with the department since 2017 and has been involved in two prior police shootings, Clark said. One was in 2019 and the other was earlier this year. He's on modified duty during the investigation.
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Investigations & Crime