Outrage And Protests After Cop Shoots Armed Robbery Suspect Trying To Pull Gun
Colorado Springs, CO – Angry community members are protesting the fatal officer-involved shooting of an armed robbery suspect on Saturday night and police have called witnesses’ accounts on social media “irresponsible and incorrect.”
Colorado Springs Police Department Spokesperson Lieutenant Jim Sokolik told reporters that the shooting occurred while officers were responding to a robbery call at about 6:45 p.m. on Aug. 3, KKTV reported.
"Officers were dispatched to a personal robbery with a weapon in the 2400 block of East Fountain Boulevard,” Lt. Sokolik said. “They contacted the victims there, who pointed out two suspects."
He said that when officers tried to detain the suspects, one of the men tried to pull his gun, KKTV reported.
"One of [the suspects] reached for a firearm in their waistband. At least one of the officers involved did fire. The suspect was struck at least one time," Lt. Sokolik said.
The suspect, whose family has identified him as 19-year-old De’Von Bailey, was transported to the hospital where he later died, according to The Gazette.
Police said a weapon was recovered at the scene and said the second suspect was also arrested.
Colorado Springs police have not identified the officers who were involved but said that both had been placed on paid administrative leave as is protocol for officer-involved shootings, The Gazette reported.
Neither of the officers was injured during the incident.
Police have not yet released the name of either suspect, even though Bailey has already been widely identified in the media and about 100 people held a candlelight vigil in his memory on Sunday night.
Bailey’s stepmother, Jacqueline Johnson, told reporters at the “Justice for De’Von Bailey” vigil, hosted by the NAACP and the Colorado Springs Council for Justice, that the shooting had been a big misunderstanding.
"He was minding his own business with a friend of his and was just in the wrong place at the wrong time," Johnson insisted. "Mistaken identity."
Witness Ashley Franco told KKTV a very different version of the shooting story than what police have released.
“We saw a squad car going up the street," Elizabeth Powell said. "... As I was walking up the street, the first squad car that we saw had pulled up on two young black male individuals, and they were questioning them. The next thing I know, the male in the black shirt turned around and he just started running.”
“He didn’t have anything in his hands; he did not brandish any type of weapon. The police officer did not try and chase him, did not try and tase him. He took out his gun and he shot him,” Powell told KKTV.
She said the officer fired his weapon seven times at Baily as he fled, The Gazette reported.
Another witness, Kara Garcia, told reporters that she saw the officer shoot Bailey in the back five to seven times.
Lt. Sokolik wouldn’t comment on the witnesses’ versions of what happened, but said “There is some outrageously irresponsible and incorrect information being put out on social media,” The Gazette reported.
Police have not said whether there is bodycam video of the incident.
Garcia and Powell’s assertions have led to cries of outrage from the community and a protest march from City Hall to the Colorado Springs Police Department on Monday.
Protesters banged on the doors of city buildings chanting “Hands up, Don’t Shoot” and “No Justice, No Peace” on Monday afternoon and generally disrupted traffic to those buildings with their presence.
Police officers in riot gear were staging nearby.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the officer-involved shooting, The Gazette reported.
Bailey was wanted by police in April on suspicion of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, according to Pikes Peak Area Crime Stoppers.
The Gazette reported that it was unclear whether Bailey was a fugitive when he was shot by police.