AURORA — A car drove through a crowd and two protesters were shot in Aurora during demonstrations against racial injustice on Saturday.
The Aurora Police Department said on Twitter that protesters were walking on Interstate 225 Saturday when a vehicle drove through. A video of the incident showed a Jeep hurtling toward a crowd gathered on the interestate.
The vehicle didn’t appear to strike anyone as demonstrators dove out of the way. Some people threw objects at the vehicle.
Police said a protester fired a weapon, striking at least two people, one of whom was taken to a hospital in stable condition. The other was shot in the head, though his injuries were described only as a “graze wound.”
Authorities said the vehicle was towed and they are investigating.
“During preliminary interviews with the Jeep driver, he advised officers that while on I-225, his vehicle began to be surrounded by protesters who were yelling and striking his vehicle,” Aurora police said in a news release.” “He also claims that a white pickup truck struck the front of his vehicle. He claims that the reason that he drove towards the protesters is because he was scared and trying to get away.”
Police say they are working with prosecutors to pursue charges against the driver.
“I not only find great concern with someone making the decision to drive their vehicle toward protesters on the interstate but that someone in the protester group opened fire, recklessly shooting two people,” said interim police Chief Vanessa Wilson.
Police are also trying to identify the protester who fired their gun. They are encouraging fellow demonstrators to turn in photos and video of the shooting they may have.
Protesters also broke windows to the courthouse and a fire was started in an office, police said. An unlawful assembly was declared and police ordered protesters to leave the area, authorities said.
Tensions have been heightened at recent protests against racial injustice since federal officials were sent to quell demonstrations in Portland, Oregon. Police declared a riot in Seattle on Saturday.
Protests sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man in Minnesota who died after a white officer held him to the ground with a knee to his neck, have also highlighted other cases of fatal police violence.
In Colorado, protesters have been drawing attention to the death of Elijah McClain, who was stopped by police while walking down an Aurora street in August 2019 after a 911 caller reported him as suspicious. Police placed him in a chokehold, and paramedics administered 500 milligrams of ketamine, a sedative, to calm him down. He went into cardiac arrest, was later declared brain dead and taken off life support.
Colorado Sun staff writer Jesse Paul contributed to this report.