DENVER (KDVR) — The Denver Department of Public Safety released multiple videos from an officer-involved shooting in Lower Downtown in July.
The videos from multiple Denver officers’ body cameras, HALO (High Activity Location Observation) cameras and surveillance cameras inside Larimer Beer Hall show the activity before, during and after the shooting.
Police commander narrates videos from the scene
Denver Police Department Commander Matt Clark previously said what officers were doing in the area — that there was a report of a fight outside a beer hall and that a suspect possibly had a gun. Officers identified themselves to the suspect, Jordan Waddy, and began communicating with him.
“It appeared to the officers that Mr. Waddy was working to retrieve an item from the front pocket of his hoodie with his left hand as he continued moving toward 20th Street, which was in the direction of the crowd in front of the beer hall,” Clark said.
“The video shows Mr. Waddy removed a handgun from his front hoodie pocket. When he did so, he was holding the slide of the gun in his left hand.”
Clark said that at one point, the muzzle of the handgun that Waddy was holding was pointed in the direction of the officers on Larimer Street. That is when one officer fired four rounds and another officer fired two rounds at Waddy.
A third officer who followed Waddy onto the sidewalk said he saw Waddy with a firearm. That officer fired one round when he saw Waddy point the gun toward the other officers. Clark said that officer was aware of the people standing behind Waddy in front of Larimer Beer Hall.
The officer on the sidewalk explained to investigators that he “worked to obtain a clear sight picture of Mr. Waddy before firing one round.”
Officers ceased fire when they believed Waddy was no longer a threat, Clark said. Seven rounds total were fired by three Denver police officers.
When officers began performing life-saving measures on Waddy, they saw other bystanders had been injured in the shooting.
“We are deeply concerned that six individuals were injured as the officers tried to apprehend Mr. Waddy. Based upon the information we have at this time, we understand that these injuries to these individuals were directly or indirectly caused by the rounds fired by one or more officers,” Clark said.
Clark said officers recovered a handgun with the hammer cocked back and one bullet in the chamber with seven bullets in the magazine. Clark said the gun was Waddy’s and there is no evidence that he fired the gun.
Use-of-force analyst shares perspective on video
FOX31 reviewed the newly released video with James Allbee, a use-of-force analyst and private investigator.
“I think, overall, that the suspect ended up making the decisions for law enforcement and for himself with pulling out that gun,” Allbee said. “My perception is that you’ve got a millisecond to decide whether or not he’s going to fire this firearm at the scene and start shooting at people in the crowd, and it turns into kind of an active shooter situation, or is he trying to throw the gun?”
Allbee considered what the officers knew in the moment as he watched the videos.
“You and I now have the opportunity to sit back and Monday morning quarterback. I think, tactically, they set themselves up to the best that they could have considering the circumstances,” Allbee said.
“As the suspect starts to turn around, even if he is unarmed, he starts going towards the firearm again. Who’s to say that he’s not going to go pick it back up? And then it’s like, did he accidentally throw it? Now is he going to try to pick it up to shoot more people? There’s a lot of things that could potentially end up justifying continuing to fire at the suspect, especially still moving towards the firearm.”
What Denver police initially reported
The Denver Police Department said officers responded to 20th and Larimer streets on July 17 around 1:30 a.m. to break up a fight. That’s when officers say Waddy allegedly made a motion, and police suspected he had a gun. Police shot and wounded Waddy. Six other bystanders were also injured in the shooting.
Officers said they recovered a loaded firearm from the scene.
Following the shooting, Clark said, “The officers began rendering aid to Mr. Waddy and immediately recognized additional people on the sidewalk who were south of the subject were also injured,”
Police have released images of the shooting scene, but up until Tuesday, had yet to make body camera video public. Witnesses described the shooting as tough to experience and many were running and screaming.
6 bystanders injured in shooting
Six bystanders were wounded when three Denver officers fired seven rounds at Waddy on July 17. Two bystanders who were hurt in the shooting said they are grateful things did not end up worse.
“Now we’re in a situation where we realize how short life is – how short life could be,” said Yekalo Weldehiwet, 26, who said his humerus bone was shattered when he was struck by gunfire.
“It definitely does put into perspective how short life can be,” said Bailey Alexander, 24, who suffered a gunshot wound to her shoulder area.
Attorney Crist Whitney, who is representing two other bystanders wounded in the shooting said officers violated state law when they shot in the direction of the crowd in pursuit of their suspect.
Whitney said Colorado law allows officers to use deadly force when it’s reasonable and when there’s no risk of injury to others.
“Well, we would say it’s a miracle that they’re still alive,” Whitney said. “They were in a mass shooting and they survived it, and we would say it’s a million-dollar wound.”
Whitney also cited Denver Police policy, which he said prohibits officers from firing a weapon if someone is not being sought by officers and might be injured.
After the videos were released, Whitney told FOX31 investigative reporter Lori Jane Gliha he was glad they released the video and wished there was more.
“What was mainly concerning that there were there was a good 70 people standing behind Jordan Waddy at the time … the officers seem to just disregard that there were people back there,” Whitney said.
Waddy hires lawyer to represent him
Tyrone Glover is representing Waddy in a civil rights capacity. Waddy already has criminal representation from a team of public defenders.
“Based on what I’ve seen thus far, I feel like his civil rights were absolutely violated,” Glover said. “If we have the tools, if we have the ability, if we have the facts and the law on our side, this is absolutely going to result in a lawsuit and likely a lawsuit.
“I’m very confident that justice will be brought,” Glover said.