Two officers shot trying to stop a carjacking suspect. Police fired back – and that might have violated policy.

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DENVER, CO – Two officers from the Aurora Police Department engaged in a shootout on Monday July 27th, leaving both of them injured. Both are expected to survive. 

According to Denver police, the officers were part of a multi-agency task force tracking a number of suspects who were wanted in numerous convenience store holdups and other robberies in the Denver area.

However, only one of the suspects, who was wanted for carjackings, was involved in the shooting.

According to KKTV, in a statement given on the night of July 27th, Denver Division Chief Ron Thomas said: 

“They followed them to about 47th and Andes, where they attempted to make contact,” 

He went on to say:

“At that location, one of the suspects ran in the parking lot here [Redstone Ranch Apartments a few blocks away] and attempted to forcibly take a vehicle from two citizens who were inside that vehicle.”

When the officers attempted to stop the suspect, gunfire was exchanged. 

Thomas said:

“Two Aurora officers were shot, the suspect was hit by gunfire as well.”

No information was released on the officers injuries, other than to say they are non-life threatening. The suspect was shot multiple times, and is said to be in critical condition. 

According to Thomas, prior to the shooting, officers tried to maneuver their vehicle in an attempt to stop the carjacking.

Thomas said:

“There was an attempt to intercept that vehicle from being driven away, and that’s when the gunshots were exchanged as I understand.”

He continued:

“I can tell you shooting into a vehicle is against our policy in most cases. There are certainly some exceptions, when someone’s in grave danger.”

Finally he said:

“There’s been an operation in place for a while to contact them and apprehend these suspects,”

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Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today? With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.

Here is a story Law Enforcement Today recently brought you about officers from Cleveland who were shot in the line of duty.

CLEVELAND, OH – A Cleveland Police officer was reportedly shot during the early morning hours of July 20th, according to law enforcement sources. However, the officer struck is reportedly poised to recover just fine, and four people have already been taken into custody in relation to the incident.

Fraternal Order of Police president Jeff Follmer reportedly confirmed the incident with a local Fox news outlet. What’s known thus far is that the shooting happened around 3:45 a.m. near the intersection of E. 81 Street and Euclid Avenue in Cleveland.

Not much has been revealed with regard to what led up to the shooting, however some sources allege that the call started out as “unknown trouble” and officers may have responded to reports of someone shooting into someone’s door.

Reports of road closures have come in regarding the area of where the scene of the incident was.

Police have yet to identify the officer involved or the suspects taken into custody following the incident. Please follow Law Enforcement Today to stay up to date on this developing story.

Not far off in Aurora, Colorado, police are under fire for a different debacle.

On Saturday night, protests turned violent as demonstrators pushed down a fence, threw fireworks and other harmful objects at officers, broke windows, and started a fire inside the courthouse. 

On Monday morning, Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman spoke with KOA and expressed his concerns from the violent weekend.

Allegedly, his concerns circled around the police and why they allowed protesters to destroy and vandalize property at the city’s municipal center, including the courthouse.

In response to the violence that erupted over the weekend, on Sunday, Coffman said in a Facebook post:

“Aurora cannot become a Portland.”

According to The Gazette, Coffman said he received a report that about 600 people attended the protest and about 150 people stayed behind after it ended.

Coffman said:

“Those who remained sought to bait the police into a confrontation and to destroy as much public property as possible.”

Coffman believes that the individuals who stayed behind were not protesters, but instead using the protest as a cover for violence.

He said in a statement:

“I understand that our police department chose to show restraint last night by not using non-lethal munitions…my concern is that they will be back again and again until they achieve their goal.”

According to the Denver Post, Coffman said that during Sunday’s protest, the police largely stayed out of sight and did not make any arrests.

He said:

“What they tried to do is reduce their profile as much as possible to the protesters in the hopes that they can bring down the temperature in terms of those who are looking for a confrontation.”

After weeks of criticism for responding too aggressively to a protest of police brutality, now the Aurora Police Department is being criticized for not doing enough to prevent violence and property damage.

Deputy City Manager Jason Batchelor said that the police department opted to use a more hands-off approach during last weekend’s protests after facing weeks of criticism and a federal lawsuit for using pepper spray and physical force on a large crowd during a protest back on June 27th.

He said:

“We had criticism in the past from council members and others that having police officers there would escalate the situation.”

Police officers were in the area of the protest the entire time, but were purposely hidden from view. They did not use any rubber bullets or other less lethal munitions. Interim Police Chief Vanessa Wilson was scheduled to meet Monday evening to discuss her department’s actions this past weekend, but was unable to as two Aurora police officers were injured in a shooting in Denver.

However, back on June 30th, Chief Wilson defended her decisions to use pepper spray and force to move people off the lawn in front of city hall during a violin vigil for Elijah McClain. She cited the actions of protesters who were pushing down fences and throwing water bottles at police. There was also an armed person in the area.

Mayor Coffman said that city leadership will have further conversations with the police department about strategy regarding protesters, whom he referred to as ” the opposition.” Coffman said that the ongoing security issues rises to the level of being discussed behind closed doors.

He said, “tactics or strategy is a sensitive issue,” only revealing that the approach will have to balance protecting property and showing force.

Many aspects of the weekend’s events are still being investigated, including how a Jeep was able to access I-225 during a protest and speed towards protesters before a pick-up truck allegedly rammed into it to stop it from moving towards more people. 

According to Batchelor, police tweeted locations and traffic information about the protests throughout the afternoon and evening, although a clear plan of the day’s events were never presented to the city.

He said:

“They did not reach out and even if they did, we would have to be very suspect of what they provided. They have deliberately misled the public and the city in the past.”

An organizer, who identified himself as Joel, told the Sentinel that the group purposefully skewed their Facebook post in an effort to throw police off their trail.

He said:

“That was part of the plan.”

Coffman reiterated in Monday’s special session that there seems to be a trend of violent agitators infiltrating the groups of mostly peaceful protesters in Aurora. He said that he is concerned that another protest, maybe in late August will happen and be even more destructive.

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Here’s Law Enforcement Today’s most recent story out of Aurora.

On Saturday night in Aurora, authorities said that demonstrators pushed down a fence, threw fireworks and other harmful objects at police officers, broke windows at the courthouse, and started a fire inside the courthouse. 

According to CBS4, the protests were part of an effort to seek justice for Elijah McClain, who died last year after an altercation with Aurora Police. By 8:45 p.m., the Aurora Police Department had declared the protest an unlawful protest.

In a tweet, the Aurora Police Department said:

“Protesters are now throwing objects, shining lasers, and shooting large fireworks at officers. Everyone needs to leave the area immediately. If you remain, you are subject to arrest.”

According to the police, protesters tore down wood covering windows and used the wood as shields so they could continue to violently protest. They broke windows to get inside the courthouse and started at least one fire.

More than 2o windows at the courthouse were broken. The fire that was set was extinguished by 9 p.m. and it did not appear to spread anywhere else inside of the building. Again, the police made announcements telling protesters to leave the area.

According to authorities, most of the protesters who vandalized the courthouse were wearing masks and one of the security cameras was covered with a plastic bag, making it difficult to identify the people involved.

About an hour later, just before 10 p.m., protesters moved away from the Aurora Municipal Center and blocked the Alameda Parkway. Earlier in the evening, according to Sentinel Colorado, multiple people were injured after shots rang out and in unidentified driver plowed through a crowd of demonstrators.

The shooting occurred after a Jeep, which police later impounded, drove through hundreds of protesters walking down Interstate 225. According to police, at about 7 p.m. the blue Jeep surged into hundreds of protesters in the northbound lanes of I-225. 

A witness to the mayhem, one of the protesters, Natalie Lebesma, said that a driver in a white truck pulled quickly in front of the Jeep, ramming it and keeping it from plowing into more people. Allegedly, a protester pulled out a gun and appeared to be aiming it at the Jeep, but instead shot another protester in the leg.

Police confirmed that one person was shot in the leg and another later drove themselves to a local hospital with a graze wound after a person fired multiple shots into a crowd. The Aurora Police are investigating the shooting allegation.

Police contacted the driver of the Jeep shortly after the incident. The Jeep has since been impounded, but the driver has not been arrested. Both injured individuals from the gunshot wounds remain in the hospital with non-life threatening injuries in stable condition.

According to ABC7, police have released photos describing the person of interest in the shooting during the protest on I-225. The photos were provided to the police by a witness. Anyone with any information, photo, or video evidence is asked to contact the Aurora Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP.

According to Fox 31, the Aurora Police Department has officially launched an investigation into the driver of the Jeep that rammed into the crowd of protestors on I-225. Police said that after driving through the crowd of protesters, the driver of the Jeep pulled off at East 6th Avenue and Billings Street.

He sought out and located officers that were investigating a separate, unrelated crash at that location. He was questioned by the officers and the Jeep was impounded for evidentiary purposes. According to reports from authorities, the preliminary investigation indicates that the driver was scared and drove through the crowd after protesters surrounded his vehicle.

The driver claims that the protesters were striking his car and yelling at him.

Aurora’s Interim Chief of Police, Vanessa Wilson said in a statement:

“I not only find great concern with someone making the decision to drive their vehicle toward protesters on the interstate, but that someone in the protester group opened fire, recklessly shooting two people.”

Chief Wilson said that they will be working with the District Attorney to discuss the appropriate charges to bring against the driver as well as working tirelessly to identify the shooter(s) on the interstate.

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