6th bystander identified as being wounded during Denver police shooting

Crime tape and shell casings can be seen at the scene of a police shooting on July 17, 2022.
Crime tape and shell casings can be seen at the scene of a police shooting on July 17, 2022.(CBS Denver)
Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 7:15 AM MDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2022 at 5:57 AM MDT
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DENVER (KKTV) - Denver police now confirm at least two bystanders were hit by bullets while officers fired at an armed suspect last weekend.

Four others were injured in the July 17 shooting but likely by shrapnel, the Denver Police Department said.

The update came Wednesday as the police department continues to investigate how six civilians ended up in the crossfire on that early morning in Denver’s LoDo neighborhood.

The police department says officers were patrolling Larimer Street -- a popular nightlife spot on weekends -- when they noticed a man causing a disturbance. Police suspected he was armed, and the streets were crowded with barhoppers, creating a potentially dangerous situation.

“Officers moved towards that location and confronted the armed party, who did pose a significant threat,” said Division Chief Ron Thomas immediately after the shooting. “Officers discharged their weapons and he went down.”

Wednesday, the police department released still images from the officers’ body cameras and elaborated on what occurred between the time officers confronted the suspect and when they shot him.

“On Sunday morning, the officers who were near 20th Street and Larimer Street were monitoring the outcrowd when they observed a physical altercation between two males, " said Matt Clark, the commander of Denver’s Major Crimes Division. “This was occurring in front of the beer hall in the 2000 block of Larimer Street. An officer who observed the event believed the aggressor, who had struck another male, had a firearm concealed in either his hoodie or his waistband. He communicated that to other officers. Officers flashed their flashlights and announced their presence as Denver police officers in an effort to stop the physical altercation that was occurring. The primary subject, the aggressor in the case, briefly walked towards 20th Street, but upon seeing the officers in his path, he turned around and walked northbound toward Larimer Street.

“... This point, he was walking through a crowd of people who were gathered in front of a food vendor that was parked directly outside of the beer hall. The officers did not walk through the crowd intentionally but instead went into the street and paralleled the suspect on the other side of the food truck. The subject emerged on Larimer Street on the other side of the food truck -- he was between the food truck and a parked vehicle when he came out onto Larimer Street.

“Uniformed officers contacted the subject in the street, giving him verbal instructions to stop.”

Clark said at this point, the suspect and officers were away from the crowd and on a closed section of road away from any passing vehicles.

“When they confronted him, the subject immediately began backing away from the officers and moved himself back onto the sidewalk. He disregarded their commands to stop and comply and went back onto the sidewalk there.”

As the officers tried to keep the suspect in their sights, they noticed he was “feverishly” trying to remove something from his clothing.

“The subject eventually pulled out a handgun and held it in a manner where the muzzle of the gun was pointed at officers.”

At this point, the suspect was standing directly in front of the beer hall.

“When the muzzle of the handgun was pointed in the direction of the two officers on Larimer Street, they feared the subject was preparing to shoot at them. One officer fired four rounds and another officer fired two rounds at the subject. At the same time, a third officer who had followed the subject around the vehicle and onto the sidewalk also observed the firearm and recognized he was pointing the gun at the officers on Larimer Street. The officer feared for the safety of the officers on the street and fired one round at the subject. This officer was aware there were individuals behind the subject and worked to obtain a clear sight picture of the subject before firing a single round.”

Initially, police said three women and two men standing nearby were injured in the gunfire. Tuesday, a sixth victim notified the police department that he had been near the food truck at the time of the shooting and suffered a minor chest wound, bringing the number of innocent bystanders hurt to six.

“The injuries range from superficial cuts and possible graze wounds to more serious arm, shoulder and leg injuries. We’re deeply concerned for those who were injured in the incident and are working to provide all available resources and support,” Clark said, adding that all of the victims have since been released from the hospital and were recovering at home.

The suspect himself, identified as 21-year-old Jordan Waddy, is still in the hospital. Charges are expected to be filed against him Thursday and will likely include felony menacing and possession of a weapon by a previous offender.

In accordance with state law, an outside agency will investigate the shooting incident to determine whether officers were justified in firing their guns.

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