Editor’s note: This story has been updated to accurately reflect the timeline of events. The suspect briefly had his handcuffs removed so officers could take off his backpack. The handcuffs were replaced before the suspect was transported to the Denver Detention Center where the shooting occurred more than an hour later.
DENVER (KDVR) — An investigation is underway to determine if any policies were violated before a handcuffed suspect shot an officer in the neck in the Detention Center garage, Denver Police Commander Matt Clark said in a news conference Wednesday.
According to Clark, uniformed officers in an unmarked vehicle attempted to stop the suspect after discovering the car was stolen at Arkansas and Perry streets. The suspect, later identified as Daniel Cheeseman, 33, didn’t stop and a pursuit did not ensue per policy, Clark said.
Undercover officers in street clothes monitored the vehicle and Cheeseman. Cheeseman got out of the vehicle in the 1600 block of South Michigan Way and fled. The undercover officers quickly took him into custody and handcuffed him behind his back.
Clark said Cheeseman had a backpack on him and officers briefly uncuffed him in order to get the backpack off his body and immediately recuffed him. The arresting officers searched Cheeseman and the backpack and found a Sig Sauer 9 mm semiautomatic handgun and suspected fentanyl pills.
The officers then placed Cheeseman in the back of the undercover SUV and took him to the Denver Detention Center. After they parked in the secure sallyport parking garage, they kept Cheeseman in the back of the SUV while they worked on paperwork.
One of the officers then got out and opened the rear door on the driver’s side and removed Cheeseman briefly from the vehicle and then placed him back in the SUV. He began conversing with Cheeseman who was handcuffed the entire time, Clark said. The other officer came around and stood next to his partner.
During this time, Cheeseman retrieved a 9 mm Smith and Wesson MP Shield and fired a shot at the officers, striking one of the officers in the neck.
Both officers were able to get out of Cheeseman’s line of fire, but two of the bullets struck the marked patrol car next to the undercover SUV where two other officers were inside with an unrelated suspect in the backseat.
The two officers in the adjacent vehicle immediately drew their weapons when they heard the gunshots. One of the officers, a corporal, got out of the patrol car while Cheeseman fired three more shots and moved to the passenger side of the undercover SUV. The corporal fired nine shots at Cheeseman striking him at least once.
Both Cheeseman and the officer who was shot were taken to Denver Health. The officer has since been treated and released while Cheeseman remains in critical condition. He is considered stable and is expected to survive, and has not yet been released or booked into the jail, Clark said.
The officers involved in the incident are on modified duty assignment, Clark said. The shooting incident will be reviewed by the Denver Police Department’s internal affairs into how Cheeseman was able to retrieve a gun and if there was some policy violation on the arresting officers’ part.