DENVER (KDVR) — The Denver Police Department has had three calls in the past week where officers shot at people involved, and during a news conference Wednesday they discussed and shared specifics about what happened in each of them.
The most prominent of these three occurred early Sunday morning on Larimer Street near 20th Street.
Commander Matthew Clark said that officers were on patrol in the LoDo area as bars let out for the night, which is normal procedure to help limit any violence and protect people in the area during the busy time.
Around 1:35 a.m., officers were notified of a fight that was happening, this was specifically referred to by Clark as a “physical altercation.” When the officers approached, Clark said the aggressor, later identified as 21-year-old Jordan Waddy, walked away toward a crowd on the sidewalk.
Waddy’s cousin told FOX31’s Joshua Short this fight stemmed from an incident that began inside Larimer Beer Hall.
In an effort to talk to him, officers walked parallel to him in the street so they were not fighting through the crowds. Larimer Street was closed to vehicles because of the crowds while this was happening.
Clark said that at one point the man described as the aggressor, later identified as Waddy, walked into the street briefly but then after ignoring commands from officers returned to the sidewalk and pulled a gun out from the pocket of his sweatshirt.
During the news conference, Clark showed several still images including one that showed Clark in the street with his hand appearing to be in his sweatshirt pocket. Clark said this was an indication to officers that he may have been carrying a gun.
When Waddy returned to the sidewalk, he removed the gun from his pocket, holding it by the barrel and moved it in a way that the muzzle pointed toward officers, according to Clark. A still image from body camera footage showed one officer on the street pointing his gun at Waddy as Clark said this was happening. From this angle on the street, there did not appear to be anyone behind Waddy.
A second body camera angle was recorded from the sidewalk at the same time. An image from this appears to show Waddy holding the gun, and a crowd that was behind him from this angle, further down the sidewalk.
Clark said two officers on the street fired their guns when this happened because they feared for their lives, one firing four rounds and the other firing two, and one officer on the sidewalk also fired his gun one time to protect the officers on the street.
The officers did not make an announcement about their intent to shoot because, according to Clark, from the time that Waddy got back on the sidewalk to the time he removed the gun from his pocket and the officers shot him was about two seconds.
There is no evidence that Waddy fired the gun he was holding, but police say when they recovered it there was one bullet in the chamber with the hammer cocked and seven bullets in the magazine.
In addition to Waddy’s injuries caused by being shot by officers, six bystanders who were not involved were also injured. Clark said it is unclear at this time if the injuries were caused by bullets fired by the officers, shrapnel from the bullet impacts, or something else.
- Adult male – serious arm injury
- Adult female – serious leg injury
- Adult female – serious should and arm injuries
- Adult female – graze wound to the leg
- Adult male – graze wound to the foot
- Adult male – burn wound on the chest
Clark said that all of these bystanders have since been released from the hospital. FOX31’s Lori Jane Gliha talked to two of these injured bystanders and the attorney they hired about what happened that night.
Waddy remains in the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Formal charges have not been announced, but he is being investigated for felony menacing and possession of a weapon by a previous offender.
According to Clark, the officers involved were unaware of Waddy’s status as a previous offender and were responding based on his involvement in the fight.
All three officers who fired their weapons graduated from the Denver Police Academy in 2019 and, according to Clark, none had been involved in a prior shooting incident. Clark also said he had no reason to believe any of them had failed to keep up with the department’s required firearms training and testing.
Clark told reporters Wednesday that body camera footage shows the officers’ interactions with Waddy after the fight and through the shooting, but he has not seen video of the fight that started this incident.
Two of the officers involved activated their cameras immediately after the shooting, and because of how the cameras are designed they also have video recordings of the 30 seconds prior to activation – which includes the shooting. At least one officer had full activation of their camera with audio and video of the shooting. DPD has also reviewed video from city-owned cameras in the area, referred to as High Activity Location Observation or HALO cams, and is working to get security footage from the businesses in the area.
In addition to the criminal investigation against Waddy, the Denver Police Department and a Critical Incident Response Team are reviewing the officers’ actions and the department’s policies to determine if the officers followed procedure and if changes are needed at a higher level.
“Six people additionally that shouldn’t have got injured got injured that night,” Clark said of the bystanders who were injured.
Denver police officers shoot, kill man in Globeville
Another incident reviewed during Wednesday’s DPD news conference was a shooting that occurred in the Globeville neighborhood near 49th Avenue and Washington Street on July 13.
Police were initially called to the area of Federal Boulevard between 7th and 8th avenues around 10:30 p.m. because residents reported people with weapons. When the officers arrived the suspects left in a silver Audi.
The police helicopter followed that vehicle to a parking lot in Globeville and alerted officers who responded on the ground.
When officers arrived and began pulling into the lot, a suspect began firing shots out of the front passenger window of the car.
Clark said as these shots were fired, other people got out of the car and officers began to return fire.
The suspect who police say fired the shots got out of the car through the driver’s door and ran behind a dumpster. After hiding for a moment he stood up with a gun and was killed by police.
A total of 31 shots were fired by two officers during this time, Clark said.
Police recovered a gun from the area where they shot and killed a man. They believe it was the gun used to fire at them, but an investigation is underway to determine that. An investigation into who owned the gun is also ongoing. Two other handguns were located near the vehicle.
Police said after the shooting they recovered cocaine, methamphetamine and fentanyl from inside the car the suspects were using.
During the news conference, Clark showed images from the ground of the shooting scene including bodycam, evidence photos of the gun believed to have been used by the suspect who was killed, and images from the police helicopter that was over the scene.
Several other people were taken into police custody after this, including the driver who is charged with eluding police.
Domestic violence calls ends with officers shooting man
On June 15, police were called by a family member who reported a man holding a woman at knifepoint in the 300 block of East 51st Avenue and refusing to let her leave.
When officers arrived they could hear the woman screaming inside according to Clark and forced their way in through a locked door.
The officers saw a man on a staircase toward the home’s garage holding his arm around a woman with a knife to her neck. Clark described this as the man using her “as a human shield.”
Officers said the woman had serious knife wounds, and after more than six minutes of trying to de-escalate the situation one officer fired a single bullet using what Clark called an “urban rifle” and killed the man.
The woman was taken to a hospital for treatment of stab wounds to her neck, hands and arms. She has since been released.
The officers involved all were wearing uniforms equipped with body cameras. Clark said the officer who fired the shot has been with the department for six years and has never been involved in a prior shooting incident.
Despite these two police shootings happening in the same neighborhood, according to FOX31’s Data Desk, Globeville is not a high violent crime area. There have been 47 violent crimes (murders, aggravated assault, robbery) this year, which gives it a middling violent crime rate among Denver’s 78 neighborhoods – lower than the Highlands, in fact.
The Denver Police Department’s full update on all three investigations can be watched on FOX31 NOW in the player above.