DENVER — A 21-year-old suspect who was shot by Denver police in lower downtown in the early hours of July 17 — where police also injured six bystanders — has been formally charged by the district attorney's office.
Jordan Waddy was charged with three counts of possession of a weapon by a previous offender and one count of third-degree assault, according to the Denver District Attorney's Office.
The police shooting happened around 1:30 a.m. on July 17 outside the Larimer Beer Hall, located at 2012 Larimer St. in Denver.
That evening, Denver police officers spotted a man — later identified as Waddy — who appeared to have a firearm in his hoodie pocket and then refused to comply with police demands, according to a department spokesperson. He struggled to remove the gun from his pocket and while holding the gun, pointed the muzzle at officers, police said during a press conference Wednesday. While he did not have his finger on the trigger, police believed their lives, and possibly others', were in danger and opened fire on the suspect a total of seven times between three officers, Denver Police Department Cmdr. Matt Clark said.
Waddy was hit multiple times and remained in the hospital as of Wednesday. Six others, all bystanders, were also injured by either officers' gunfire, ricochets, or other debris.
After the shooting, Denver police said they recovered a loaded firearm from the scene.
The Denver Police Department held a press conference on Wednesday morning to provide more details on the shooting and the officers' actions.
In total, three officers fired their guns during the incident but none notified the people in the area they were going to do so, nor tell them to clear the area beforehand as they did not have time to, Clark said.
“Did something go wrong? Yeah, six people who additionally got injured shouldn’t have gotten injured that night,” Clark said, adding that the shooting justifies a review of the department’s tactics during the shooting.
During the press conference, Clark explained the suspect's movements moment by moment and how officers reacted to the threat. In the end, one officer fired four shots at Waddy, another fired two shots, and a third officer fired one shot at Waddy. Clark said investigators have not found any evidence that Waddy ever fired the weapon they say he pulled.
Denver7 spoke with two of the six victims who described that evening and their frustration in the aftermath.
"I felt like I got hit with a baseball at 100 mph," Yekalo Weldehiwet told Denver7.
He was shot in the arm and had a broken humerus bone.
"In the day and age that we are in, we want to feel safe," he said. "And we think that we’re safe, but situations like this makes you feel like you’ll never be safe again.... My life definitely did change forever."
Bailey Alexander, who was shot in her upper right back near her scapula, was helped by her boyfriend and two strangers after the shooting before she was transported to the hospital.
When they went to the hospital, both Weldehiwet and Alexander said they did not learn they had been shot by police — despite officers visiting them for interviews — until they read about it online, according to Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC, which is representing both victims as they navigate their futures in relation to the shooting.
"That's when a rise of questions came up," Weldehiwet said. "Why would they do this? Why would they shoot into crowded places? Are they even trained to do what they did? Why wouldn't they care for the public rather than only care for themselves? Isn't that their job?"
"Lots of frustration toward learning about the situation and learning you’ve been shot by a Denver police officer," Alexander said. "I would really just like to hear from them. Taking accountability, taking responsibility for their actions. And an apology, which I know will probably never come."
The district attorney's office said it will review if the officers' actions were legally justified in a separate case.