AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — The Aurora Police Department officially launched an investigation into the driver of the Jeep that drove through a crowd of protesters at a demonstration demanding justice for Elijah McClain on Saturday. They are also trying to identify the shooter or shooters that fired shots striking two people.
According to APD, after driving through the crowd of protesters, the driver pulled over at East 6th Avenue and Billings Street. He located officers who were investigating a separate, unrelated crash at that location. The driver was questioned and the Jeep was impounded for evidentiary purposes.
APD says that preliminary interviews with the Jeep driver indicate he was scared and drove through the crowd after protesters surrounded his vehicle, striking it and yelling. He claims a white pickup struck the front of his vehicle.
Rally organizers say the Jeep could have been prevented from getting onto the highway and endangering marchers in the first place.
Frontline Party for Revolutionary Action Actionist Candice Bailey said, “We have someone who is a witness of the Jeep coming onto the highway being allowed onto the highway through a police barricade that was set up by police.”
Rally organizers say the truck in question that allegedly hit the Jeep was a member of a security escort that had tried to stop the Jeep to protect protestors.
Frontline Party for Revolutionary Action Actionist Terrance Roberts said, “Some of us in the front of the crowd didn’t know the Jeep was there until we heard the wreck with the other truck that was doing security in the back.”
During the Jeep incident, shots rang out. One man was shot in the leg and transported to the hospital by ambulance. Another was grazed in the head by a bullet and transported via private vehicle.
The Afro Liberation Front said it departed the rally after what happened with the Jeep on I-225.
ALF’S Gabriel Lavine said, “We empathize with the protestors frustration in regards (to) Aurora PD. That agency has done more to protect racist institutions rather than the people they are in theory meant to serve.”
The City of Aurora and its police department have been the focus of multiple protests ever since McClain died after being arrested by Aurora Police last August. The 23-year-old had not committed a crime – protestors say excessive force killed him.
City Council Member Alison Coombs says it’s time to focus on the root of the problem.
“We have to have a conversation about justice for Elijah McClain which has been clearly spelled out by these people making demands by what they would see as justice for Elijah McCLain,” said Coombs.
Detectives are questioning the shooting victims and say they “might have captured pictures or videos of the incident.”
APD is asking eyewitnesses with any video or pictures and additional information about the incidents, to contact Denver Metro Crime Stoppers.
Aurora’s Interim Chief of Police, Vanessa Wilson, made this statement:
“I not only find great concern with someone making the decision to drive their vehicle toward protesters on the interstate but that someone in the protester group opened fire, recklessly shooting two people.
We will be working with our District Attorney to discuss appropriate charges for the driver as well as working tirelessly to identify the shooter(s) on the interstate.
Any witnesses are urged to report what they saw to Denver Metro Crime Stoppers.
A press conference is expected at 5 p.m. Monday by Frontline Activist Group.