DENVER (KDVR) — A man who was barhopping in Denver a few weekends ago said he was an innocent victim who was injured during a police shooting that injured six bystanders.
“When the pops went off, I wasn’t necessarily sure it was gunfire, but as soon as I got hit in my foot, I was shocked,” said Willis Small IV, 24.
Small spoke to the Problem Solvers from the law offices of Rathod Mohamedbhai. The attorneys also represent two other bystanders who said they were struck with bullets during the same incident.
“The first thought was, ‘Did I really just get shot?’” said Small.
Small told the Problem Solvers he was filled with adrenaline when he was struck, so he was able to run and limp to his car and drive himself to Denver Health where his bloody foot was stitched up.
“Once they removed the sock, my leg just started shaking uncontrollably,” he said. “The nurse said it was probably due to adrenaline, but that kind of freaked me out too.”
Small said he was about to cross the street near the intersection of 20th Street and Larimer Street when he heard the gunfire. The pain is improving, he said, but he is still sore.
“I’ve been very stressed,” he said. “Now I have to limp around. I have to think about why I am limping around and then, even knowing it was caused by someone who is supposed to protect me – like I said, I was out enjoying myself. Now, I feel like I should just enjoy myself at home.”
Small said the police chief called him to apologize after the incident.
“He asked me how I was doing and apologized various times,” said Small. “I told him I respect the fact that he called me to apologize.”
While the Denver Police Department would not confirm the names of victims or witnesses, a spokesperson did confirm that Chief Paul Pazen has been personally calling innocent bystanders who were injured during the shooting.
“The Denver Police Department remains concerned for the injured bystanders and will continue to offer resources and support through the Victim Assistance Unit, and we recognize the need to rebuild trust with the community we serve in order to keep our residents safe,” the Denver Police Department said in a statement.
“Chief Pazen also personally called each of the victims and spoke with those who answered. Going forward, the department will continue working to help all the victims as needed,” DPD told the Problem Solvers.
Police said they were shooting at a suspect, Jordan Waddy after they said Waddy pointed a gun at them.