DENVER — A Denver police officer has died after being shot in the head while trying to break up a confrontation at a city park where hundreds of families had gathered for a free weekly jazz concert, a police spokesman said.
The gunfire erupted shortly after the band finished playing next to a pond at City Park. The officer who was shot was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead, police spokesman Sonny Jackson said.
At least 1,000 people were at the City Park Jazz concert, the fourth of 10 shows scheduled for this summer in the annual series. The shots sent scores of park goers running.
Jackson said police were continuing to search for a suspect, while describing the shooting as an isolated incident. Earlier, police spokeswoman Raquel Lopez said a suspect was in custody, providing no further details.
The gunfire erupted shortly after the band finished playing next to a pond at City Park. At least 1,000 people were at the City Park Jazz concert, the fourth of 10 shows scheduled for this summer in the annual series.
After shots rang out, scores of people ran from the northwest side of the pond and stage area, confusing crowds on the south side of the pond who were still lingering over conversation and picnics in lawn chairs and blankets. Someone announced from a loudspeaker on stage that the park was closed and told park goers to leave from the south side.
Nakira Doss, 28, was sitting near the stage when she heard at least two shots. She said she covered her three children, ages 7, 5 and 4, as other concertgoers ran past.
“I told my kids to get on the ground, and I laid on top of them,” she said.
Samuel Bell, 19, of Denver, said he was in the parking lot looking for a space for his scooter, which police later cordoned off with yellow tape. He said he heard several shots.
“We just arrived at the park. It was crowded, it was looking fun,” Bell said. “And then ‘pa- pa-pa-pa’ outta nowhere.
“We just ducked,” Bell said. “We pulled off in enough time to get away. It was crazy.”
He said he saw police officers administering CPR. He estimated he was about 10 to 20 feet away from where the officer was shot.