AURORA | Aurora police doubled down on claims that a 22-year-old man shot by police inside of his home earlier this month knew officers were on his porch, though his parents and attorney remain adamant the man thought the commotion in front of his home was caused by a former roommate who had returned to exact revenge.
Deputy Aurora Police Chief Paul O’Keefe said at a press conference Friday that police believe “with a pretty high degree of certainty” that Aurora resident Andy Huff knew police were on his porch when he retrieved a pistol-grip shotgun and faced multiple officers while holding the weapon.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Huff knew it was the police that were there and (he) went and grabbed that firearm anyway,” O’Keefe said.
O’Keefe did not elaborate on how investigators came to that conclusion, but he said additional details are forthcoming.
“Once that case is thoroughly reviewed by the district attorney’s office, the specific details about how we believe that to be true will come out,” O’Keefe said.
Huff’s parents, Robert and Christine McGhee, doggedly refuted that claim while addressing members of the press outside of Aurora police headquarters Friday.
“My son did not know it was the police in his front yard,” Christine said. “ … He thought it was the roommate coming back to harm them and everyone in the home can tell you they did not know the police were there.”
Four Aurora police officers responded to Huff’s home at 1570 S. Bahama St. at approximately 11:30 p.m. Oct. 10 to speak with Huff and his brother about an alleged assault at the home earlier in the day. The brothers’ former roommate, 26-year-old George Gutierrez, told police the Huff brothers violently assaulted him in the afternoon on Oct. 10 after Gutierrez took the brothers’ car without asking.
Gutierrez told detectives the brothers “took turns holding him down on the ground and kicking him,” according to court documents. Andy Huff then grabbed a Glock handgun with an extended magazine, held it to Gutierrez’s head and threatened to kill him, Gutierrez told police.
Gutierrez sustained a minor head injury and broken ribs as a result of the fight, according to court documents.
Huff has been charged with assault and menacing related to the fight with Gutierrez.
O’Keefe said Gutierrez later contacted police to assist him with filing a report against the brothers and retrieving several personal items from the home.
Upon arriving, the officers told an investigator they saw Andy Huff run from the front yard into the home. He retrieved a shotgun — 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 court documents. She was wearing a full police uniform and “was certain Andrew Huff saw her and recognized her as a police officer,” according to the court records.
An investigator said in a court affidavit that Marrero was standing outside in the dark, and Huff was standing inside his living room with the lights on.
O’Keefe said Huff then faced officers while holding the shotgun, though it remains unclear whether he pointed the weapon at the officers in his front yard.
When Aurora Officer Alexander Ord saw Huff holding the weapon, he commanded the man to “drop the weapon,” according to O’Keefe. Before any police officers verbally identified themselves, Ord then fired at least four shots into the window, striking Huff in the buttocks. It’s unclear whether Huff heard Ord’s commands.
That account was not mentioned in an arrest affidavit alleging Huff assaulted Gutierrez.
Ord remains on administrative leave, according to O’Keefe.
Huff’s wife and 3-year-old daughter were inside the home, along with his brother and brother’s girlfriend, when the shooting occurred.
Huff was re-admitted to the hospital hours after being discharged last week, according to his attorney Birk Baumgartner.
He remains in the intensive care unit and is being treated for complications spurred by an infection, Huff’s mother said.
“The infection almost killed him, and he’s in rough shape,” Christine said. “He’s on a ventilator. He can’t speak. I don’t know whats going to happen … it’s terrible to see him like that.”
While he was briefly discharged from the hospital, Huff was remanded to police custody and booked into the Aurora Municipal Jail for approximately three hours, Christine said. While in custody, he remained in a hospital gown without medications or instructions on how to change a colostomy bag he had recently been administered to treat him for his shooting wounds.
He then posted a $25,000 bond and was re-admitted to a local hospital.
Baumgartner and the McGhees have called for 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler to prosecute Ord in connection with the shooting.
“This is a criminal act,” Baumgartner said. “Police officers are not above the law.”
Baumgartner condemned the police department’s characterization of events.
“When a police officer is dispatched to a home for an emergency, they are very likely to meet with a citizen who is armed, and they are making now habit of shooting these citizens before they identify themselves,” he said. “It’s an unsurvivable situation. They are doing nothing to change this policy … This is a stamp of approval on shooting citizens of Aurora in their homes.”
Baumgartner said he has issued subpoenas for all relevant information related to the case, as neither police nor the district attorney have released several relevant materials.
Baumgartner also said he received a letter from local prosecutors instructing him to cease speaking about the case with members of the media. Baumgartner later shared the letter with members of the media.
Huff is due to appear in court on Nov. 8.