Cops Opened Fire Into a Crowd Because They Thought Someone Had a Gun

At least five people were injured when Denver cops fired on a crowd after they claim a suspect pulled a firearm on them.
Denver police
(Photo: Denver Police Department)

Police injured five people when they opened fire on a crowd in Denver’s lively entertainment district after they claim a man pulled a gun from his waistband and pointed it at them.

The police shot into the crowd at 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning soon after showing up to deal with a group arguing in front of a bar. A witness then described to Denver 7 News seeing the cops “randomly shoot into a crowd of people.” Another witness said he didn’t see the suspect with a firearm.

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“It was definitely a little traumatic to see that go down, to see police just randomly shooting into a crowd of people. It was just insane,” he said. “I heard maybe six or seven shots. I look to my left and I saw a girl who was hit on the thigh and it hit an artery and she was gushing out blood.”

“I can attest that there was no one else who shot a gun but Denver police,” they added. “I saw them draw their guns. They didn't assess the situation.”

Police claim the suspect did not fire his weapon. The five victims, as well as the suspect who was also injured, are all expected to survive. Only the suspect and a woman remain in the hospital. Police have not confirmed if the injured were all struck by bullets shot by the officers, or if they were hit by ricochets or shrapnel. 

Police say they saw the suspect point a firearm at them, however, a witness told the Denver Post they did not see the suspect holding a weapon or hear any warnings issued by the officers."

In a probable cause statement released on Sunday night, Denver PD said police first came into contact with the suspect during an argument between two men outside a bar. Cops said the suspect  “lifted up his hoody as though he was armed with a handgun.” Police say they approached the man and he walked away but then say they saw him “reaching into his waistband or pocket in a motion consistent with pulling out a firearm.” The officer interviewed for the statement said he was “in fear for his life” as the suspect “was now armed with a firearm.”

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So three officers opened fire into the crowd.

“After the shots were fired, The Denver Police Officers immediately began to render aid to Waddy and several other victims who were injured during the shooting,” the document reads. The document does not indicate it was the police who fired the shots but the department confirmed three officers discharged their weapons. In the document the unnamed officer said he saw the suspect throw the weapon to the ground after being shot. 

Another witness who saw the cops firing upon the crowd told The Denver Post “I’m pretty sure we would’ve been shot had we been standing in the wrong spot.” 

The suspect did not fire on police, he has yet to be charged but was arrested on menacing and weapons possession violations. The three officers who fired on the crowd have been put on leave, but their names have not been released. 

This story has been updated to clarify police claim the suspect raised his firearm at them.

Follow Mack Lamoureux on Twitter.