AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – An officer-involved shooting that took place on Thursday night was unintentional, police announced on Friday afternoon in a news conference.
Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz said the shooting, which took place in the 4500 block of Ivy Street in Denver, happened when an officer from his department who had crossed into Denver city limits and was with other officers trying to stop a suspected member of an auto theft ring.
After chasing the suspect, Aurora police officers and a Colorado State Trooper performed a pit maneuver to stop the suspect’s vehicle. A Denver police commander said the suspect and officer each exited their vehicles.
As the officer approached the suspect with his firearm drawn, he lost his footing in an icy area, and fired one round accidentally at the suspect, striking him in the upper left side of his body.
“He’s taking this very seriously, he was incredibly cooperative during the investigation,” said Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz.
The suspect, Christopher Padilla, 20, was hurt and listed in critical condition but is expected to survive. Police said Padilla had two outstanding warrants, including one from an aggravated theft case and drug and weapons charges.
“Anytime a police officer discharges a firearm and a party is struck or endangered, whether intentionally or unintentionally, we’re going to handle that the same way,” said Denver Police Cmdr. Ron Saunier.
Police say Padilla did not have a weapon.
Because the shooting occurred within the city limits of Denver, the Denver Police Department is taking lead on this investigation. The Aurora Police Department Major Crimes/Homicide Unit is also assisting.
The officer’s name hasn’t been released. He is a 16-year veteran of the department and has no prior involvement in any officer-involved shootings. He was placed on paid leave of absence, a normal step in officer-involved shootings.
“What I saw at the scene last night was a very icy, snowy situation I’m not even sure that the sidewalk played a part in this or whether there was a sidewalk because everything was covered with snow,” said Saunier.
Padilla remains in police custody at a Denver hospital while recovers.