DENVER — A total of six people were injured when three Denver officers fired shots at a man pointing a handgun at them in LoDo early Sunday morning, the Denver Police Department said.
Police said around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, officers in the area of 20th Street and Larimer Street responded to a disturbance involving a man with a gun. During the encounter, the man pointed a handgun at officers, according to DPD. Three officers shot at the man, hitting him. He was taken to the hospital and is expected to survive.
DPD said the man, identified as Jordan Waddy, 21, did not fire any shots.
Police said five other people -- three women and two men -- were also injured in the incident, which happened on a crowded street around last call for bars in the area. All five are expected to survive.
Police said investigators are working to determine whether those people were shot by officers directly or whether they were hit by shrapnel or a ricocheted bullet fragment.
"Everybody was just running. Everybody was just making sure that they didn’t get hit," Guillermo Cortes, who said he witnessed the shooting, said. "Everybody was just ducking and covering. There was no warning at all [from officers]."
Cortes said he saw a woman shot in the leg, and said a bullet fragment grazed his friend's chest. He said he saw the suspect and another man fighting, then the suspect walked away fast, with officers following him. Cortes estimates the officers fired their guns about 30 seconds later.
"Instead of shooting at big crowds or everything, they should clear out some people," Cortes said. "I don't know how police work or anything, but what they did last night was not cool."
Another witness, Areon Mornes, was across the street when the shooting happened. She said she heard at least five gunshots. Mornes said she didn't hear police give any warning before firing.
She took video just outside Larimer Beer Hall at 20th and Larimer. It shows a man laying on the ground who appears to be in handcuffs. Mornes said she then walked around a food truck to find a woman bleeding on the sidewalk.
"Two of the police officers were holding her up and I was standing there recording, trying to make sure she was OK and if she was still alert," she said.
In an arrest affidavit, police said the officers saw an altercation beginning between three people in front of the Larimer Beer Hall. One of the men, later identified as Waddy, began to grab at his waistband and lift up his hoodie as though he had a handgun, according to the affidavit.
When officers approached, he began to walk away, but when he saw more officers coming from the other direction, he turned and walked back onto the sidewalk. That's when Waddy pointed a gun in the officers' direction, according to the affidavit.
The three officers who fired shots are on administrative leave, per standard practice.
On Monday, Chief Paul Pazen said more information won't be released until at least Wednesday, to allow investigators to conduct several "critical interviews" of people involved.
"There’s forensics that needs to take place. These things don’t happen immediately. There’s a lot of evidence processing that takes place to identify if there’s direct or indirect fire that might impact folks," Pazen said.
Waddy is being held on charges of felony menacing and possession of a weapon by a previous offender. On Monday, Denver Health said his condition was stable.
Cortes said he never heard officers give any warning to the suspect.
Denver Police policy says officers must identify themselves and give clear warning of their intent to shoot, unless doing so would put them at risk.
"They need to state that they're an officer, they need to state that they see a firearm to alert other individuals and they need to let other individuals know whether they're going to use force. And that's prominent within their policy," MSU Denver Professor of Criminal Justice Andrea Borrego said.
The policy also prohibits DPD officers from firing if there's a likelihood a bystander could get seriously hurt.
"There's a lot more factors to consider now, especially when you're in crowded places," Borrego said.
This is the third shooting involving DPD officers in seven days.
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