Police have identified and arrested a person of interest in a shooting that happened after a Jeep drove toward protesters on a suburban Denver interstate during a demonstration over the death of a Black man stopped by police last year.
Samuel Young, 23, is suspected of four counts of attempted homicide.
Meanwhile, a man was arrested on suspicion of driving toward pro-police demonstrators in northern Colorado.
The situations both unfolded Saturday amid heightened tensions nationally at protests against racial injustice since federal officials were sent to quell demonstrations in Portland, Oregon.
In Eaton, Colorado — a town of about 4,400 people — police said an SUV sped through a park where the rally was taking place and reportedly tried to drive into or over participants. The man, whom police did not identify, was arrested after driving away. About 100 people gathered for the rally, waving flags and cheering support for law enforcement, the Greeley Tribune reported.
In Aurora, police on Monday said they had identified Young as being involved in the shooting.
Police are also asking the public for photos, videos and eyewitness accounts of the shooting as well as of the Jeep driving toward protesters on Interstate 225 Saturday during a protest over the death of Elijah McClain.
Police have previously said that it was not clear how many people opened fire. One man was shot in the leg and another suffered a grazing wound to the head in the shooting.
No injuries related to the Jeep have been reported, police said.
The driver of the Jeep was not arrested but his vehicle was seized as evidence. He said that protesters surrounded his vehicle and were yelling and striking it and that he drove toward protesters because he was scared and trying to get away, police said. He also said that a white pickup truck hit him.
Witnesses told Sentinel Colorado that the driver of a white Ford F-150 pickup truck likely protected protesters by maneuvering his truck in front of the Jeep and hitting it as it sped toward the crowd.
“It was a snap decision, because it was, ‘If I don’t slow this guy down, he’s going to kill people,’” driver Sebastian Sassi told the newspaper. He declined to say whether he was part of the protest or whether he supported its cause.
It’s not clear how the Jeep got on the highway since police had blocked entry after demonstrators spilled onto the road.
“It is unknown at this time if the Jeep was ahead of that blockade, but got stuck behind protesters or if he was able to drive past the protesters who had their own groups’ vehicles blocking the 225 entrance ramp from Alameda,” Officer Matt Longshore said in an email to Sentinel Colorado.
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.
In Colorado, protesters have been drawing attention to the death of 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 a sedative to calm him down. He went into cardiac arrest, was later declared brain dead and taken off life support.
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