Denver PD commander says it's 'clear' a firearm was missed during suspect search

An officer suffered a "through and through wound" after being shot in the neck by a handcuffed suspect who was being taken to jail

By Sarah Calams

DENVER — Earlier this week, a Denver Police Department officer was shot in the neck by a handcuffed suspect who was being removed from a police cruiser at a jail. The department continues to investigate how the shooting occurred, but a commander said it was “clear” a firearm was missed during a search of the suspect.

Officers had arrested the suspect on Monday after they discovered the vehicle he was driving was reported stolen in November. They attempted to stop the driver, but he drove off and later walked away from the vehicle. Officers later found the suspect and took him into custody. They found a handgun and suspected narcotics in a backpack, reported.

Officers drove the suspect to a jail, where they began doing paperwork with him still in the car in the parking lot. At one point, an officer was standing in the doorway of the cruiser where the suspect was seated in the back.

“Without warning, the offender leaned to his right and discharged a round from his firearm at the officer who was in the back doorway there,” Denver PD commander Matt Clark said. “The offender’s hands were cuffed behind his back when the round was fired.”

The officer was shot in the neck with a “through and through wound,” according to Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas. The shot officer is at home recovering. 

A corporal and an officer in training were parked inside a nearby marked police car when the shooting happened.

“The corporal believed the offender was firing directly at him and quickly moved to the passenger side of the vehicle that was containing the offender,” Clark said. The corporal discharged his weapon nine times, hitting the suspect multiple times, police said. The suspect was transported to the hospital and is expected to survive.

The suspect had concealed a 9mm handgun and fired four rounds at the officers who had transported him to the jail. The weapon was reported stolen in September.

An investigation will determine whether policy or procedures were violated in the incident. According to Clark, it’s currently not known where the suspect’s gun was hidden. The suspect faces charges of attempted murder of a peace officer and possession of a weapon by a previous offender.


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