DENVER (CBS4) – Friends and family of a teenager shot and killed by Denver police have asked for a special prosecutor to investigate the case.
Jessie Hernandez, 17, died Monday morning after police received a call involving a suspicious vehicle in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood. Officers determined the car was stolen and police say they opened fire on Hernandez after she hit an officer with the car.READ MORE: Gov. Jared Polis Praises FDA Panel Recommendation Of Pfizer COVID Vaccine For Children
The medical examiner’s office on Tuesday released the official cause of death as multiple gunshot wounds.
Monday night mourners gathered at the scene of the shooting to leave flowers and gifts.
Tuesday morning a group of approximately 30 protesters gathered at the Wellington E. Webb Municipal Office Building in downtown Denver. They stood outside and spoke for a short time before heading upstairs to District Attorney Mitch Morrissey’s office where things became very tense. Morrissey wasn’t in the office at the time.
“One question … how would you have felt if it was your kid?” Hernandez’s cousin Jose Castaneda shouted inside the district attorney’s office.
The group included community activists, friends and family of Hernandez. They met to question authorities about Monday’s incident, but also about what happens next. They want to know if the officers will be charged and if the investigation process will be transparent.READ MORE: Federal Judge Sides With Douglas County Schools On Face Mask Requirements Lawsuit
Chief deputy district attorneys Doug Jackson and Lamar Sims told the group there will be a thorough investigation and asked the group for patience during the investigation process.
Castaneda says Hernandez is being made to look like a criminal, but says regardless she wasn’t armed and shouldn’t have been killed. Police would say the vehicle was being used as a weapon.
“I stayed up all night, I haven’t been to sleep trying to figure out what happened to my cousin,” Castaneda said. “Who shot my cousin? Who was there when they shot my cousin? I can’t go and see her. You can go and see a police officer. Why? Because he ain’t dead. He’s not dead … but she’s dead, there’s nothing we can do to bring her back.”
Representatives from the district attorney’s office spoke with the group for a while. A spokeswoman says the incident is disturbing and tragic but they have to let the investigative process play out.
Denver Police Chief Robert White said he believes the officers followed protocol in the shooting. The officers weren’t wearing body cameras during the incident.MORE NEWS: Adams County Commissioners Unanimously Vote To Leave Tri-County Health
Both officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation, which was being conducted by police, the district attorney and the Office of the Independent Monitor.