On Monday, two Denver police officers opened fire on a car full of teenagers in a reported stolen car, killing 17-year-old lesbian driver Jessica Hernandez.
The officers told the unarmed teens repeatedly to exit the car, and shots were fired after police contend Hernandez then used the car as a weapon to attack one of the officers.
Denver Police Chief Robert White said in a press conference Wednesday:
“At some point, the original officer that responded to the scene, the vehicle started driving toward him, which pretty much had him between a car and a brick wall and a fence. Out of fear for his safety, he fired several shots and the other officer also fired several shots.”
The Denver Post reports that the shooting is the fourth time in seven months that officers have shot drivers of cars they claim are being used as weapons.
One of the officers was indeed struck by the car, though a parent of one of the other teens in the car is claiming that he was injured only after shots were fired and Hernandez lost control of the car.
White is urging people to wait for facts.
“The investigation will show exactly what happened,” he said. “Let’s wait and see what happens in the investigation.”
None of the other four teens in the car were injured, and none are being tried on charges related to the stolen vehicle.
Family and friends of Jessica, who went by Jessie, gathered to memorialize her, making reference to the fact that she was openly gay and had a girlfriend.
The Denver District Attorney is conducting a full investigation into the circumstances of Hernandez’s death.