DENVER – A police sergeant was struck by a firetruck Thursday at a parade and rally to celebrate the Denver Nuggets first NBA championship. Also, in an unrelated incident, two people were shot at the conclusion of the festivities at Curtis Street and 17th Street, the Denver Police Department said.
Sgt. Justin Dodge, a member of the Denver Police Department SWAT team, was struck by a fire truck transporting several Nugget players. The incident occurred near the end of the parade route at West 13th Ave. and Cherokee Street, FOX 31 Denver reported.
Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas told reporters the sergeant was trying to protect people in the enormous crowd who made their way in front of the fire truck.
Sgt. Dodge “had to step kind of closer to the vehicle and the fire truck began to roll up the back of his left leg, trapping him underneath the vehicle,” he said.
The sergeant was rescued from beneath the rig and transported to the hospital with a severe lower leg injury. He had to undergo surgery and is listed in serious, but stable condition, police said.
Nuggets players Nikola Jokic, MVP of the finals, and Jamal Murray, were aboard the fire truck along with the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy when the accident occurred. They were transferred to another truck to take them the remaining few blocks of the parade route, FOX 31 reported.
According to a doctor with Denver Health, the injury to Dodge’s leg is “limb-threatening.”
Denver Fire Department spokesperson Greg Pixley said the sergeant fell as the fire truck was turning and ended up with severe injuries caused by the vehicle.
“This was a very chaotic environment,” Pixley said. “There’s a lot of people around there and unfortunately, every once in a while, there’s circumstances like this that happen.”
Meanwhile, two males were also shot in an unrelated incident at the conclusion of the rally. The victim’s were reportedly targeted by the gunman. They are listed in serious condition, Chief Thomas told reporters during a press conference, FOX News reported.
Detectives believe the shooting was unrelated to the Nuggets victory parade. Authorities have an image of a suspect, who remains unidentified and was not in police custody, officials said.
During the news conference, Chief Thomas was questioned about how someone could open fire in a crowded area with a large police presence.
“This just speaks to the fact that individuals now in our community are emboldened to act in an irresponsible way regardless of who’s watching,” he said.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said more than one million people attended Thursday’s festivities, but the shootings (not to mention the severe injury to Sgt. Dodge) blemished the day.
“Shame on them for once again marring what had been otherwise a pretty successful event for the entire state of Colorado,” Hancock said of the gunman.