DENVER — Police Chief Robert White released the names Wednesday of the two officers who shot and killed a teenage girl early Monday morning. Police say she tried to run them over during a confrontation when they responded to an incident involving a stolen car near 25th Avenue and Niagara Street.
One officer was hit and he received a leg injury.
Daniel Greene, a 16-year veteran, and Gabriel Jordan, a 9-year veteran, both asigned as Patrol Officers in District 2, are currently on administrative leave.
The chief acknowledged there are a lot of unanswered questions about the shooting.
Protesters, torn apart by grief, gathered outside the District 2 police station Wednesday night looking for some answers. District 2 is where the two officers involved work.
About 50 of them got together, hoping to put pressure on police after the shooting of the 17-year-old.
Earlier Wednesday, two girls who say they were in the stolen car with Jessie Hernandez Monday morning, told their stories about what happened when Denver police officers arrived. The girls did not want to be identified.
They say Hernandez could’ve been stopped with being shot. “They didn’t warn us, like ‘get out or we’re going to shoot you.'”
“The cops just started running up and shooting and then she got shot and then I got shot,” one of them said.
Chief White said officers only fired after they were hit by the car Hernandez was driving. “The driver struck the original officer, at which point both officers fired several shots, striking the driver,” he said.
Police, the District Attorney’s Office and an independent commission are all investigating what happened.
But for protesters, waiting isn’t an option. A small group of them went inside the District 2 police station Wednesday night to meet with officers. Our cameras were not allowed to join them.
Many of those who showed up admitted they did not know the suspect who was killed. But they believe they had no choice but to step in. “To the people who ask if Jessie Hernandez put herself in that situation, I would like you to think back to your youth and how many situations you put yourself in,” one protester said.
White released a statement about the incident and investigation that the Denver Police Department sent to the media via email Wednesday afternoon.
“The Denver Police Department, the Denver District Attorney’s Office and the Independent Monitor are conducting a thorough investigation into the officer involved shooting that involved Jessica Hernandez.
Although we are still determining the facts of the incident, the Denver Police Department is committed to transparency and once the investigation is complete all information obtained during the investigation will be available for the public to review. Please find the Denver Police Policy regarding discharge of firearms as an addendum to this email.
We are also aware that the Independent Monitor has stated his office will evaluate the policy regarding the discharge of firearms at moving vehicles, and we have invited him to join the comprehensive review of the policy that is already underway at the direction of Executive Director of Public Safety Stephanie O’Malley. We welcome any input that can improve the way we serve our community and that will help everyone get home safely.
The Officers involved in Monday’s shooting are: Daniel Greene (16 year veteran); Gabriel Jordan (9 year veteran), both are assigned as Patrol Officers in District 2. Both officers are currently on administrative leave.”
Independent Monitor Nicolas Mitchell said Tuesday night his office was opening an in-depth evaluation of Denver Police shootings involving moving vehicles. There have been four such shootings in the last seven months in the city.
That was after protesters visited the Denver District Attorney’s office to ask questions about the deadly shooting in what turned into a sometimes angry confrontation.
“You’re not letting me be patient. I have to stay up … I’ve been up since six in the morning since yesterday looking for what happened to my cousin. I have not slept in 24 hours trying to find out what is wrong!! And you can’t tell me why you shot my cousin!!” Jose Castaneda said.
Prosecutors promised protesters a thorough and transparent investigation. “It’s an issue that we face not only in Denver but across the nation to address some of these concerns,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Lamar Sims told the group.