AURORA, Colo. — Opening statements began late Tuesday afternoon in the trial for the man charged in connection with the shooting of two people during a protest on Interstate 225 in July 2020.
Samuel Alvin Young was arrested shortly after the July 25, 2020 shooting on charges of attempted homicide and assault, the Aurora Police Department (APD) said.
On that night, Young was among a large group of people taking part in a protest and march over the death of Elijah McClain. At one point the group made their way down East Alameda Avenue and onto the highway, which forced it to be closed.
However, Sky9 captured a Jeep barreling down the highway as protesters scrambled to get out of the way.
According to an affidavit, Young fired at that Jeep. Two people were struck by gunfire, APD said. One man was shot in the leg and was taken to the hospital, and another was grazed on the head. That man also went to the hospital.
His defense attorney Jason Kosloski argued that he fired his gun to protect others.
"When Samuel Young fired those shots it was a second between people dying on that roadway, somebody tripping and falling and becoming roadkill," Kosloski said. "Samuel Young made a split-second decision and acted, and that's why Samuel Young is innocent."
One witness told police that Young appeared to be "horrified at what he did."
"After firing his weapon, he placed his gun back into his pocket, and entered a state of shock which she describes as the male's legs weakened, causing him to fall to the ground," the affidavit says the witness told police.
The affidavit says Young dumped the shell casings from his weapon onto the highway. They were later recovered by investigators.
Young faces numerous charges including assault with a deadly weapon, attempted murder, and illegal discharge of a firearm. His trial is scheduled to wrap up late next week.
There were no reports of anyone being injured by the Jeep, police said. Prosecutors countered that Young's actions were not justified.
"Those decisions that he made to pull his gun, to fire at the jeep under those circumstances, was not justified," said prosecutor Tom Byrnes.
In September 2020, then district attorney George Brauchler announced that the Jeep's driver would not face charges, in part because protestors were illegally on the highway and the driver had little to no warning that they would be there.
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