DENVER — Just after he touched upon topics including housing, the economy, homelessness and public safety in his State of the City speech Monday, 9NEWS asked Mayor Michael Hancock to address a shooting by Denver police that injured at least five bystanders.
Early Sunday morning, police fired upon an armed suspect at the corner of 20th and Larimer streets in a busy environment as people left bars. At least five people may have been injured by either police bullets or shrapnel, according to police.
On Saturday, a woman was killed in an unrelated shooting just south of East Colfax Avenue. Police indicated the woman may have been a bystander. So far, they have not located a suspect.
In his final State of the City address Monday, Hancock touched upon public safety and gun violence.
“Public safety today and tomorrow is about better policing. Expertly prepared, well trained and accountable law enforcement,” Hancock said during his speech.
The mayor also said Denver is facing a huge problem with the prevalence of guns in the city and that repeat violent offenders with guns need to be held more accountable.
“We’re being held hostage by those who believe unrestrained access to guns is a good thing. The solution to gun violence isn’t more guns,” he said.
Hancock announced in his speech that he is asking the city council to fund a new program that will involve the Colorado U.S. Attorney’s Office. The goal would be to prosecute violent offenders who commit gun crimes on the federal level.
The facts of Sunday’s shooting are still slow to come out Monday as outside investigative agencies, including the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, look into it.
9NEWS asked the mayor about accountability in the investigation.
“These officers were there on the street to keep everyone safe. They were not out there to injure anyone, intentionally. So we’ll allow for the investigation. That’s the first thing I need to do as a leader, is wait for the investigation to be completed,” Hancock said.
Chief of Police Paul Pazen also addressed the media on Monday about the five injured bystanders, but said he couldn’t say much because of the ongoing investigation.
“We talked about accountability a little bit earlier, right? We talked about ensuring officers are held accountable for their actions. We need to certainly ensure that violent and repeat offenders are held accountable for their actions as well,” Pazen said.
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