AURORA | An Aurora police officer allegedly shot a 22-year-old man in the back through a window in the man’s home Oct. 10, an attorney familiar with the matter told The Sentinel Tuesday.
“It’s crazy,” said Denver criminal defense attorney Birk Baumgartner.”They shot him through a window in the back.”
Baumgartner said officers did not announce they were outside the house of Andy Huff, 22, in the city’s Side Creek neighborhood nor identify themselves as police officers prior to the shooting last Thursday. He said one officer opened fire, shooting five times into the house and striking Huff in the buttocks.
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Police have released few details about the shooting, citing APD policy. Today, they identified Huff, adding that he would be charged with assault and menacing.
“That’s a complete cover-up,” Baumgartner said.
Police did not immediately return requests for comments about the allegations. In a news release issued Tuesday, a spokeswoman wrote that “no further information is available for release at this time.”
The officer involved in the shooting has been placed on paid administrative leave, per department policy, police said.
Baumgartner said Huff is a victim of an untrained police officer’s incompetence and will be severely injured for life.
The day of the shooting began with police being called to Huff’s home in the 1500 block of South Bahama Street to intervene in a civil dispute with his former roommate, George Gutierrez, 26.
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Baumgartner said the dispute began after Gutierrez allegedly stole a car belonging to Huff’s brother. The three men got into a scuffle and police were called.
Baumgartner said Huff and his brother “cooperated with police 100 percent.” Police left the scene at about 1 p.m.
Baumgartner said Huff was leery of Gutierrez and was worried he might return. At about 11:30 p.m., Aurora police returned to Huff’s home.
Baumgartner said witnesses across the street said they saw no police cars. But they did see more than one officer approach Huff’s home. Baumgartner said one of the neighbors recorded the encounter.
Huff and his girlfriend, who were inside the home with a 3-year-old girl, heard something outside. Huff told his attorney that he retrieved his shotgun in case it was Gutierrez trying to break in.
While Huff was facing away from the window, an officer suddenly fired into the house, striking Huff in the back, Baumgartner said.
He said all of these details are undisputed in a police affidavit. At press time the affidavit was not available.
“They sneaked up on Huff in his home and shot him in the back without ever even saying they were there,” Baumgartner said. “They never identified themselves as police.”
Gutierrez corroborated part of the story, per Facebook posts.
“(Huff) must of (sic) thought it was me knocking at the door since he went to answer the door with a gun they shot his dumbass (sic),” Gutierrez wrote on Oct. 13. ” … Yeah I drove the car with out asking this time but that was clearly obviously over not wanting to pay me money not me driving the car.”
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Both Huff and Gutierrez have lengthy criminal records in Colorado, according to statewide criminal history reports. Huff has been sentenced to jail multiple times for traffic-related offenses, including a 20-day suspended sentence in May for driving under restriction.
Gutierrez has been sentenced to jail several times after being convicted of charges related to drugs, violating a protection order and theft, according to Colorado Bureau of Investigation records.
The Aurora shooting mirrors another deadly encounter between police and citizens over the weekend in Fort Worth, Texas. There, a police officer was quickly charged with murder for firing at a women inside her home, shooting through a window.
In similar officer-involved shootings in Aurora, police routinely release few details, waiting for neighboring police agencies and the local district attorney to complete culpability investigations.
Baumgartner said Huff was critically injured in the shooting. His colon was severed and the officer’s bullet is still lodged in the lower portion of his body.
Huff will possibly suffer urinary and reproductive problems the rest of his life, Baumgartner said.
Huff was still receiving care for his injuries at a local hospital as of Tuesday evening, according to police.
Baumgartner said he would release more information and possibly video of the incident on Wednesday.