Denver, CO – The Denver district attorney released bodycam footage from a fatal officer-involved shooting on Wednesday, and said she had ruled the shooting justified (video below).
The officer-involved shooting occurred on June 13, when Carnell Nelson pulled out a gun inside a 7-Eleven convenience store on Colfax Avenue in downtown Denver, KDVR reported.
When Nelson pulled his weapon, an employee ran out of the store and flagged down a police car with two Denver police officers in it.
The bodycam video was released by Denver District Attorney Beth McCann on Sept. 12, along with a decision letter that said Denver Police Officer Travis Lloyd was defending himself and other people who were on the sidewalk when Nelson began shooting, The Gazette reported.
When they were flagged down, Officer Lloyd and Officer Sean Drew jumped out of their police SUV and raced to the sidewalk, where a man was pointing at Nelson, half a block away.
“Right here, he’s got a gun,” the man told the officers.
Officer Drew told investigators that he remembered seeing Nelson holding a cash drawer, the district attorney’s letter said.
Bodycam video filmed by Officer Drew showed as Officer Lloyd raced to follow Nelson, greatly risking his own safety. Then Nelson opened fire on the officers, the video showed.
Officer Lloyd returned fire. McCann’s letter said that Nelson fired five shots and hit Officer Lloyd in the leg and a female bystander in the foot.
McCann’s letter said that Officer Lloyd fired 13 times and struck Nelson once in the chest, The Gazette reported. Officer Drew never fired his weapon.
The district attorney said that Nelson had shot first and Officer Lloyd had returned fire, KDVR reported.
During the investigation, Officer Lloyd was asked what he was thinking during the gun battle.
“Dying,” he answered. “The best way to put it is I don’t… I guess you never know how you’re going to react when you’re getting shot at, but once I recognized that I was getting shot at… I was, I was not going to let him kill me. I’m not going to let him get away, you know after shooting me…I’m going to make sure that he stops shooting at me and doesn’t have the ability to kill someone else.”
After Officer Lloyd shot Nelson, he and his partner ducked back into an alcove in front of a store, out of the shooter’s direct line of sight, the video showed.
“Shots fired, shots fired! Get me cars here Code 10,” Officer Drew yelled into his radio.
“I need a tourniquet now,” Officer Lloyd said in the video.
“Trav, I got you. I got you,” his partner reassured him.
Quickly, the video showed Officer Drew was down on his knees applying a tourniquet to Officer Lloyd’s leg as Officer Lloyd kept his weapon trained on the suspect, whom he said he saw moving after he was shot.
Tattoos on Officer Drew’s arms indicated he was a military veteran, and his swift application of the tourniquet bore witness to that fact.
When the dispatcher asked if the suspect was in custody, Officer Lloyd replied that he was busy having a tourniquet applied to his leg, the video showed.
When backup arrived in the form of multiple patrol units less than a minute later, Officers Lloyd and Drew waited for the officers to take control of the scene before they backed away toward their own patrol unit.
In doing so, they came upon another gunshot victim - a woman Nelson had shot in the foot in front of the McDonald’s Drive-Thru, the video showed.
Officer Lloyd gave first aid instructions as he limped on his wounded right leg. Then he suddenly stopped and checked over all of his limbs, as if to make doubly sure he hadn’t been shot anyplace else.
He joked with the wounded woman about how they were both gunshot victims, and pushed back when Officer Drew continued to encourage him to take it easy and have a seat in the patrol unit.
McCann’s letter said that Officer Lloyd was justified in shooting Nelson, and confirmed that the district attorney’s office would not be seeking any charges against the brave officer, KDVR reported.
Watch video of the gunfight below: