Denver DA finds no wrongdoing by police officer or security guard in July shooting at Auraria Lofts

3 min. read
Police lights on the 16th Street Mall. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A man sprayed gunshots into a crowd early on July 10. A private security guard and a police officer shot back and hit two men, one of whom is now charged in the shooting and one of whom was unarmed. Today, Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey cleared the guard and officer of any wrongdoing.

What happened:

Witnesses say that about a dozen men in two groups were having a verbal confrontation outside Auraria Student Lofts, at 1051 14th St., at about 1 a.m.

Two of them began to fight, and the dispute moved from the sidewalk into the street. A uniformed security guard, Edwin Montoya, moved to break it up with pepper spray or mace.

It reportedly wasn't a loud argument, but it suddenly and violently escalated. A third man came running from the west and fired several shots, Montoya told investigators.

"There was innocent bystanders walking by. There was students from the Auraria Student Lofts sitting outside, smoking. He was just shooting in that direction," he said.

Montoya drew his gun and fired at the gunman, who was later identified by police as Kevin Jones. He also heard Denver police Detective Randall Wagner fire his weapon; Wagner had been working off-duty at a nearby business.

The gunman fell, apparently hit; meanwhile, a "second aggressor" was approaching, looking as if he was holding something, "and he just walked into the line of fire," Montoya said. The second man fell to the ground, also having been shot. This second man -- Robert Jones, the brother of the first man -- turned out not to be armed.

A witness said he heard eight shots, "the bullets hitting cars and hitting the ground right next to us."

Both of the Jones brothers survived. No one else was injured.

And the consequences:

District Attorney Mitchell Morrissey's analysis found that Wagner, the police officer, had shouted warnings as he tried to intercede.

Morrissey found that Kevin Jones' alleged actions were "malicious, malevolent and taken with extreme indifference toward the value of human life." Video evidence and witness statements "make it clear that he was firing a handgun, indiscriminately, down a crowded street," according to the report.

Morrissey found that Robert Jones, the unarmed man, was likely one of the men involved in the fist fight, and that he was trying to join his brother as his brother fired the gun. Therefore, Morrissey, wrote, "Robert Jones was not an innocent bystander."

Both the security guard and the police officer acted properly, according to the district attorney.

Kevin Jones has been charged with attempted murder, attempted first-degree assault and a weapons charge. Robert Jones was not charged in the shooting.

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