AURORA | The attorney of a man shot by police inside of his Aurora home last week has called for the Arapahoe County District Attorney to file criminal charges against the officer who fired his weapon.
Denver-based criminal defense attorney Birk Baumgartner told The Sentinel Wednesday he’s calling for 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler to file charges against Aurora Police Officer Alexander Ord, who fired at least four shots from a handgun into a home at 1570 S. Bahama St. Oct. 10.
One of the shots struck the homeowner, 22-year-old Andy Huff, in the buttocks, according to an arrest affidavit filed against Huff.
Huff, who was wielding a pistol grip shotgun when he was shot by police, survived the shooting and is currently being treated for his injuries at the Medical Center of Aurora, according to family members.
“We’re extremely frustrated at the lack of transparency from the district attorney’s office at this point,” Baumgartner said. “It’s not their job to cover up for police misconduct. It’s their job to objectively look at the facts and apply the law … We are demanding that the district attorney press charges on this officer that shot (Huff) in the back … You cannot sneak up on a law-abiding citizen and shoot them in the back in their own home without any repercussions.”
Aurora police responded to Huff’s home in the city’s Side Creek neighborhood twice on Oct. 10, according to witnesses. The first interaction between officers and Huff occurred sometime in the early afternoon following a physical altercation between Huff, his 25-year-old brother George Huff, and their room mate, 26-year-old George Gutierrez.
Gutierrez had taken the brothers’ shared Infinity sedan without asking, and a fight ensued, according to court documents.
Gutierrez told detectives the brothers “took turns holding him down on the ground and kicking him,” according to the affidavit. Andy then grabbed a Glock handgun with an extended magazine, held it to Gutierrez’s head and threatened to kill him, Gutierrez told police. He also told investigators the brothers had attempted to kick him out of the South Bahama Street home earlier that day due to a dispute about money and video games.
Both Andy Huff, who works as a construction foreman, and Gutierrez have lengthy criminal records in the state, according to Colorado Bureau of Investigation records. All of Huff’s charges are misdemeanors primarily related to traffic incidents. Gutierrez has numerous felony convictions on his record.
George Huff disputed Gutierrez’s characterizations of the alleged assault, saying Gutierrez in fact punched him twice in the face and made several threats against the Huff family.
“We just told him to get out of here,” George Huff said.
Gutierrez was diagnosed with “broken ribs and a minor head injury” following the scuffle, according to court documents.
Andy Huff’s wife, Leah Freeman, an X-ray technician student at the Medical Center of Aurora, said she administered part of Gutierrez’s medical exam. She said he made threatening comments throughout the process.
“When we were done with the exam he pulled me over and said, ‘Oh you know I’m not going to let them get away with this, right?,’” Freeman said.
Four Aurora police officers returned to the Huff home several hours later “to contact the identified suspects at the residence and get information,” according to the affidavit. Officers had “no tactical plan established prior to arriving at the residence,” according to the court document.
A time stamp on a police body cam video shows the gun event occurring at 11:30 p.m.
Two separate patrol units responded to the home because Gutierrez told police the Huffs “were armed with several weapons,” according to the affidavit. Police approached the home on foot.
Upon arriving, the officers told an investigator they saw Andy Huff run from the front yard into the home. He retrieved a shot gun — which officers saw through the home’s living room window — then “darted” from view, according to statements made by police. That moment “caused everyone concern,” Aurora Officer Dylan Mann said in a post-incident interview.
Prior to Huff leaving the officers’ line of sight, Officer Erica Marrero waved at him from outside a living room window, according to the affidavit. She was wearing a full police uniform and “was certain Andrew Huff saw her and recognized her as a police officer,” according to the affidavit.
Marrero then began knocking on the front door, she told detectives in follow-up interviews. As she was knocking, she heard Officer Ord yell something “unintelligible” and fire his handgun several times.
Two of bullets appeared to strike the exterior of the house, and three struck the living room window.
“This is not a controlled kind of an action here,” Baumgartner said. “This is a wild, uncontrolled, clearly inexperienced person. I mean this is the kind of shot pattern you would expect out of the keystone cops, not a trained officer.”
Mann said he heard Ord “yell something about a gun” before firing his weapon. Ord has been placed on administrative leave as Aurora police continue to investigate the shooting, per department policy.
Police then entered the home and placed Andy Huff into handcuffs, according to the affidavit.
Huff’s family members said Huff was unattended and bleeding heavily in the home’s garage for more than 30 minutes until medical personnel arrived.
George Huff said he and Andy believed it was Gutierrez — not police officers — who had arrived in their front lawn at approximately 11:30 p.m.
“I didn’t know who it was,” George Huff said. “I thought it was George Gutierrez coming back shooting through the window or something.”
While being transported to the hospital, Andy Huff “made several spontaneous utterances to include saying he just saw people (approaching the house), didn’t know who they were and got shot in his a**,” according to the affidavit.
Multiple witnesses said they never heard police announce their presence nor illuminate flashlights in the front yard.
“The only thing we saw were people wearing all black with no lights with guns in our yard,” Freeman said.
Andy Huff’s 3-year-old daughter was also in the home during the shooting.
Freeman said the girl saw Andy Huff bleeding and asked if her father was going to die.
“This is like the all-American kind of scene of a dad protecting his family,” Baumgartner said.
Andy Huff has been charged with a pair of assault charges and menacing related to the fight with Gutierrez.
Huff has been administered a colostomy bag, and was scheduled to be discharged from the hospital Wednesday afternoon, according to Baumgartner.
No court dates in the case have yet been set.
In a statement, police said investigators will release the full body-worn camera footage of the incident sometime in the future.
“We recognize trust in our community hinges on accurate transparency in all critical incidents, especially in officer-involved-shootings,” Aurora Police Spokeswoman Crystal McCoy wrote in a statement published Wednesday afternoon. ” … We will release the body worn camera footage when we can do so in a manner that does not impede any future court proceedings.”