AURORA | As Aurora police continue to investigate what led to the driver of a teal Jeep Wrangler barreling through a throng of protesters on Interstate 225 in Aurora last weekend, a man identified as a passenger in the vehicle has issued a statement underscoring that neither he nor the driver had any malicious intent.
People who had amassed on the roadway to protest the death of Elijah McClain have repeatedly rebutted those claims.
Greg Goodenough, 27, issued a video statement July 29, saying that he and his friend, 27-year-old Kyle Faulkison, were driving from a nearby location of TopGolf to Denver International Airport, when they became ensnared in the group of several hundred protesters that had marched onto the interstate near East Alameda Avenue.
“Once we did get on the freeway off the on-ramp, we did notice that there was additional protesters that were also not only in the roadway, but also on both sides of it,” Goodenough said. “These protesters then immediately started throwing projectiles at the Jeep as well as trying to get in front of the vehicle with bats to damage the vehicle. We then avoided any pedestrian that tried to get in front of the Jeep.”
Protest organizers have chastised how Aurora police treated both Faulkison and Goodenough following the incident. Both men were escorted away in a police cruiser, and their vehicle was later impounded.
Earlier this week, a spokesman for Aurora police said investigators are still trying to determine how the Jeep got onto the interstate, which was temporarily closed as the group marched down the northbound lanes. Goodenough said he and Faulkison were following GPS instructions for getting to the airport and encountered no police barricade as they entered the highway.
Candice Bailey, who helped organize the demonstration on July 25, said she wants to see more video footage of how the Jeep entered the interstate.
“Unless or until we see that footage, it’s all fictitious to me,” she said of Goodenough’s statement. “There’s just too many things that don’t come together for me … I’m not buying that this was innocent. You do not go 100 miles per hour into human beings.”
The driver of a white Ford pickup truck, Sebastian Sassi, said he intentionally collided with Faulkison’s Jeep in an attempt to prevent him from striking protesters in the area. Demonstrators later hailed Sassi as a “hero.”
Despite miscommunication with local media yesterday, police have yet to charge either Goodenough or Faulkison in relation to the incident.
“The fact that they’re tiptoeing around charging these guys is just appalling to us,” said Lindsay Minter, who has been a frequent presence at Aurora protests and now sits on the city’s new community police task force with Bailey. “And the more they tiptoe around charging these guys, that’s … agitating people.”
Police have, however, charged a 23-year-old Wheat Ridge man accused of shooting and injuring two people during the chaotic scene as the Jeep careened down the roadway. Earlier this week, Aurora police arrested Samuel Young on attempted murder and assault charges after witnesses identified him as the man believed to have used a revolver to fire several rounds at the Jeep.
One of the rounds struck a 21-year-old man in the leg and another struck a 25-year-old man in the temple. Both are expected to survive, though the man struck in the head faced “a substantial risk of death” and disfigurement, according to court records. Both of those victims were protesters.
Several people submitted tips to police identifying Young as the shooter in the days after the incident on I-225, with multiple people identifying him as a former community advisor in a freshman dorm at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Young called Aurora police on July 26 and identified himself as the shooter. Wheat Ridge police arrested him at his home on West 36th Place later the following day.
Young was eventually transferred to the Arapahoe County jail, and he made his first appearance to face his attempted murder charges on July 29.
Jail records indicated he has posted his bond, initially set at $75,000, and has been released from custody.
Correction: This story was updated to clarify Samuel Young was arrested by Aurora police at his Wheat Ridge home. A former version said he was arrested by Wheat Ridge police.