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Case moves forward for former CU Buffs player accused of shooting acupuncturist

An affidavit says Justin Bannan, 40, shot the woman during a drug-induced state where he was claiming the mafia was after him.
Credit: Courtesy Boulder Daily Camera
Former NFL and University of Colorado Boulder lineman Justin Bannan appears in court at the Boulder County Jail on Oct. 17, 2019. Bannan is facing attempted murder and assault charges after police say he shot a woman in Boulder on Wednesday. (Photo by Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

BOULDER, Colo. — A court has ruled there's enough evidence for proceedings to continue against Justin Bannan, a former University of Colorado Buffalo football player accused of shooting an acupuncturist in October, according to the 20th Judicial District Attorney's Office.

Bannan, 40, faces an attempted first-degree murder charge in relation to an incident in Boulder where an arrest affidavit says he shot a woman during a drug-induced state where he claimed the mafia was after him.

Bannan was a former defensive tackle for the Broncos and also played for the CU Buffs from 1997 to 2001. He is the co-founder of Black Lab Sports, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Bannan's arraignment will be held in district court on Feb. 14, 2020 at 1 p.m. Bannan's bail was initially set at $500,000. A spokesperson for the DA said he has since bonded out.

Credit: Jeffrey Beall [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
Former Broncos defensive tackle Justin Bannan

Police initially responded to Black Lab Sports at 3550 Frontier Ave. in Boulder on Oct. 16 to investigate a reported shooting. 

RELATED: Former Broncos, CU Buffs player accused of shooting acupuncturist

The victim, an acupuncturist who worked in the building, was suffering from a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to her right shoulder and was taken to Boulder County Community Health to be treated for her injuries, according to the Boulder Police Department (BPD).

The victim was at Element 6, a separate business located inside Black Lab Sports, according to an arrest affidavit. She told police she arrived at work, opened her unlocked therapy room door and was immediately shot.

She said she saw Bannan, who she only recognized from brief encounters in the hallway, sitting in the corner of the small room and said, "What the (expletive), you just shot me," to which he replied, "I'm sorry, the Russian Mafia is after me," according to the arrest affidavit.

Responding officers later found a man matching Bannan's description sitting at a table talking to another male on the west side of the building, the affidavit says. He had two bags with him — a duffel bag and a backpack — and two guns were found inside the backpack, according to the affidavit.

Bannan was taken into custody without incident and the affidavit says he told police he suffers from hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus is a condition in which excessive cerebrospinal fluid builds up in the brain, often causing increased pressure.

Bannan also said he got rid of his cell phone because someone was using it to track him, according to the affidavit, and later told investigators that the Russian Mafia was after him.

Police also found Bannan to be in possession of a rolled-up $20 bill and a "white powdery residue" that later tested presumptive positive for cocaine, according to the affidavit. Bannan was also "sweating profusely" and his "body temperature appeared to be very warm," during initial questioning, the affidavit says.

Bannan was transported to a nearby hospital and medically cleared before returning to the police station, the affidavit says.

Bannan said during the next questioning that he went to the "dark room" inside Black Lab Sports to hide and that the shooting was an "accident" and that he "didn't mean to shoot her," the affidavit says. 

Bannan faces the following charges:

  • Attempted first-degree murder
  • First-degree assault – extreme indifference
  • First-degree assault – intent to cause serious bodily injury 
  • First-degree burglary

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