DENVER — The man who Denver police officers shot in lower downtown earlier this month when six other bystanders were also injured was formally charged in court Tuesday morning, as his attorney argued he never tried to use the weapon police say he pointed in their direction.
Jordan Waddy, 21, was formally charged with three counts of possession of a weapon by a previous offender and one county of third-degree assault. The first three counts are class 5 felonies, and the latter is a class 1 misdemeanor. He appeared remotely from the hospital.
The judge set a $10,000 surety bond in the case even though Waddy’s public defender requested a personal recognizance or $5,000 surety bond for Waddy, arguing that he had no failures to appear in court over the past five years and that he has not faced other felony charges as an adult.
Another reason his public defender asked for lower bonds and argued why Wady should not go back to jail is because of the injuries he suffered when he was shot in the early-morning hours of July 17 outside the Larimer Beer Hall, located at 20th and Larimer Street. Three officers fired their weapons at Waddy, but it’s not clear exactly how many times he was hit.
His public defender said at Tuesday’s hearing Waddy was shot in the back, legs, buttocks and chest. Denver police had previously said he was shot in his lower torso and extremities.
The public defender said it took 20 minutes before Waddy was loaded into an ambulance that morning. She said sometime late last week, Waddy was transferred from Denver Health Medical Center to the Downtown Detention Center, but while he was waiting to be processed into the jail, he started bleeding and had to be transferred back to the hospital.
She said the jail was “not able to address his needs” and that the Denver Sheriff Department was understaffed.
The public defender said she had concerns about how Denver police officers handled the incident that morning and argued there was no evidence Waddy had tried to use the gun police said he had, which a spokesperson said was pointed briefly toward officers as Waddy was trying to take it out of a sweatshirt while holding onto its slide.
Denver prosecutors told the court they had serious concerns about Waddy being on parole and allegedly possessing a handgun. He was on parole from a Youthful Offender system sentence for aggravated robbery and attempted aggravated robbery convictions stemming from a 2017 case.
Court records indicate Waddy’s pretrial services supervision was changed from maximum to enhanced, and that it could be removed if he complies with the parameters for 90 days.
According to Denver police, Waddy had been in an altercation with another person around 1:30 a.m. July 17 outside of the beer hall. A group of officers started watching and following him, according to the department.
At one point, according to a department spokesperson, officers gave him verbal demands, and he allegedly tried to pull a handgun out of his sweatshirt, flashing the muzzle at an officer while he was holding the gun by its slide. He did not have his finger on the trigger, and police say they do not believe he ever fired the weapon, which they said they found close to him after he was shot.
One officer said they feared for their life, according to an arrest affidavit, and three officers total fired their weapons.
While DPD Cmdr. Matt Clark said the department was not sure it would ever be able to determine how the six bystanders were injured, at least two of them were hit with bullets, they told Denver7 in interviews last week. One officer fired four shots, another fired two shots, and the third officer fired one shot.
“Did something go wrong? Yeah, six people who additionally got injured shouldn’t have gotten injured that night,” Clark said at last week’s news conference, adding that the shooting justifies a review of the department’s tactics during the shooting.
The two victims who spoke with Denver7 – Yekalo Weldehiwet and Bailey Alexander – said when police spoke to them at the hospital, they never said that they were wounded with bullets from Denver police officers. They learned about the wounds from news online, they and their attorneys said.
"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 police shooting is being investigated by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Colorado State Patrol, the Denver District Attorney’s Office, and the Denver Police Department, with oversight from the Office of the Independent monitor.