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Aurora deputy chief: "No doubt" man shot by police saw officers before grabbing gun

Posted at 12:19 PM, Oct 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-25 19:16:31-04

AURORA, Colo. – An Aurora police official on Friday said he has no doubt that a man shot by officers at his home earlier this month saw police before grabbing a gun.

Andy Huff, his family and his attorney have all said the Huff did not know officers were at his home and that they did not identify themselves as police before one officer shot him through a front window.

Police have said the officer shot Huff because he was carrying what appeared to be a long gun.

"Through our investigation, we are able to say that with a pretty high degree of certainty that Mr. Huff knew it was the police" at his home when he went to get the weapon, Deputy Chief Paul O'Keefe said in a news conference.

O'Keefe did say officers did not verbally identify themselves to Huff.

Huff was shot in the buttocks and was seriously injured. Huff was back in the hospital this week, battling infections and breathing through a ventilator, his attorney, Birk Baumgartner, told Denver7 on Friday.

O'Keefe on Friday was addressing the Huff shooting, as well as two other officer-involved incidents. An officer last week shot a man outside of an apartment on East 14th Avenue. Police said the man had a gun.

In August, Elijah McClain, 23, suffered a heart attack after a struggle with police. Officers had responded to a report of a man wearing a ski mask and waving his arms in the air. When they tried to contact the man, he kept walking and a struggle ensued. Police requested a paramedic "due to the level of physical force applied" while restraining McClain, who later died.

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All three incidents are still under investigation, O'Keefe said Friday.

In the Huff shooting, officers were responding to Huff's home in the 1500 block of South Bahama Street after investigating a reported assault of Huff's former roommate, George Gutierrez. Huff was suspected in the assault, the affidavit said.

Police met with Gutierrez about 7 p.m. Thursday. After determining that Huff was a suspect, officers went to his home about early Friday morning, the affidavit said.

Officers arrived and saw Huff standing in the street, near a truck and trailer. An officer then saw Huff "immediately" run inside the home an arm himself with a shotgun, the affidavit said.

The same officer said she saw Huff through the window of the home, standing in the living room. She waved at Huff, "certain [Huff[ saw her and recognized her as a Police Officer," the affidavit said.

The officer said Huff then "looked to be attempting to remove his jacket and was doing something with his hands, which were out of her view," the affidavit said.

When Huff disappeared from her view, she went to knock on the front door of the home. As she knocked, she heard another officer yell something and then fire several shots from his handgun, the affidavit said.

Police released a picture from an officer's body camera of Huff holding what appears to be a gun in the window.

Huff was taken to a hospital after the shooting. He faces charges of felony and misdemeanor assault and felony menacing in the allegations made by Gutierrez, police said.

"I couldn’t tell they were cops at all," Huff told Denver7. "I could clearly see five people. They were all in black, They didn’t look like cops. They look like they saw me and they looked like they were coming to beat me up."