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Third bystander hit by Denver police gunfire comes forward, investigation continues

Nearly two weeks after police bullets or shrapnel hit six bystanders in downtown Denver, a third man has come forward with wounded foot.

DENVER — As the investigation continues into a shooting where city police hit six bystanders while aiming at an armed suspect, Willis Small IV is the third victim to share his story with 9NEWS.

Small, 24, said he was within the crowd at 20th Larimer when a police bullet pierced his left foot as he stood outside the Larimer Beer Hall on July 17. 

“Definitely gave me a different perspective on life because I went out to enjoy myself and got shot,” Small said. 

Police were aiming at Jordan Waddy, who was armed, as crowds of people began to leave the bars in the early hours that Sunday morning. In a police report, an officer claimed he feared for his life when he saw Waddy point a gun at officers. 

Police shot Waddy who survived the shooting and is now out of the hospital and in jail on several felony counts of possession of a weapon by a previous offender. 

During a press conference last week, police said their officers fired seven shots, however the agency would not directly say people were shot but instead admitted something went wrong. 

Among the six bystanders hit by police gunfire, two have already spoken to 9NEWS about their experience.

“I didn’t expect to be in such a situation. I was just downtown trying to socialize as a young individual and got shot,” Small said. 

Small told 9NEWS he alerted officers on scene he was shot, but they were too caught up in the chaos of the shooting and they ignored his injury. He drove himself to the hospital, he said.

“It’s ridiculous, because there’s so many people down there and that it is such a dense crowd. Police are supposed to protect us,” Small said. 

Like other injured victims, Small has retained the Rathod Mohamedbhai law firm which has handled a number of high-profile civil rights cases in Colorado. 

“This is definitely an unreasonable use of force,” said attorney Crist Whitney, who claimed police violated the law and department policies. “They’re firing into a crowd. I’m sure we can all agree that firing into a crowd is going to create a risk of injuring someone.”

In a statement sent to 9NEWS on Friday, Denver Police said: 

“The Denver Police Department remains concerned for the injured bystanders and will continue to offer resources and support through the Victim Assistance Unit, and we recognize the need to rebuild trust with the community we serve in order to keep our residents safe.”

The Office of the Independent Monitor, Colorado Bureau of Investigation and Denver’s District Attorney’s Office are investigating the shooting. 

As of this publication, Denver Police have yet to release all the body camera footage from the incident. 

If you have any information on this story or would like to send a news tip, you can contact jeremy@9news.com

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