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Former Bronco Justin Bannan sentenced to prison for attempted murder

Posted at 2:54 PM, Feb 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-10 17:27:17-05

BOULDER, Colo. — A former Bronco found guilty of attempted murder in 2021 was sentenced to prison on Thursday.

A jury found Justin Lewis Bannan guilty of attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder and two counts of assault in September 2021. He was sentenced Thursday to 16 years in prison.

"Words can't begin to describe how sorry I am to (redacted) for all the pain and trauma that I caused her on that day, Oct. 16, 2019," Bannan said during his sentencing, and apologized to the community of Boulder. "I'm so sorry. I feel absolutely horrible about what happened. ... I love this place and I love this town. It means everything to me. I love this state. And I hope someday you guys can give me a second chance. I just want you to know I'm going to do everything I can to make things right, no matter what that looks like."

He said he takes full responsibility for his actions and is thankful that the woman he shot is alive.

20th Judicial District Judge. Norma A. Sierra sentenced him to 16 years in the Department of Corrections followed by a year of mandatory parole. During the sentencing, she said she regrets the effect the sentence will have on Bannon's two children. She also noted the mentions of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is caused by repetitive head trauma, in the trial.

The charges stemmed from Oct. 16, 2019, when officers with the Boulder Police Department responded to multiple calls about a shooting at Black Lab Sports, located at 3550 Frontier Avenue. Callers reported that a man shot a woman and then walked outside of the building, according to Bannan's arrest affidavit.

Officers found the woman at the scene. She had been shot in her right shoulder, an injury that was deemed not life-threatening, according to Bannan's arrest affidavit. She identified the suspect who had shot her as Bannan and said he had stated, "I'm sorry, the Russian Mafia is after me" after shooting her.

As responding officers searched the scene, they found Bannan sitting at a table on the west side of the building. He told police he had a "couple of guns in his bags," according to the affidavit. Two guns were found in a backpack in his possession — one had a fully loaded seven-round magazine with one round in the chamber and the safety off. Police found a second magazine in a holster for the gun and another fully loaded seven-round magazine. The second gun had a 10-round magazine with seven rounds and a round in the chamber, according to the affidavit.

As police drove Bannan to the Boulder Police Department, he said he had hydrocephalus — a condition where excess fluid builds up in cavities in the brain — and that he got rid of his cell phone because somebody was tracking him. He also said he had a "significant story" to tell, according to the affidavit.

At the police department, authorities went through a manila envelope containing items officers had found in Bannan's possession outside Black Lab Sports. One of the items was a rolled up $20 bill that contained a white powdery residue, which was identified as cocaine in a preliminary test, according to the affidavit.

During a recorded interview, Bannan was "sweating profusely" and "making statements about the Russian Mafia being after him," according to the affidavit. He also made statements about the woman he shot, saying "she did not deserve that, she was a good person."

Bannan was charged with attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault with extreme indifference, first-degree assault with intent to cause serious bodily injury and first-degree burglary following the shooting.

Bannan is a co-founder of Black Lab Sports, according to the company's website.

He was a defensive lineman for the Broncos in 2012. He also played for the University of Colorado Boulder Buffs.