Tuesday, January 28, 2003
Steamboat Springs Five Denver men face first-degree assault and hate crime charges in connection with the alleged assault of an off-duty Steamboat Springs police officer and his girlfriend.
The suspects, including Carlos Raymond Cordova, 23, and Edward Lee Lucero, 22, are in custody.
Officer Damian Baynes shot one of his alleged assailants in the arm after he and his girlfriend, Renee Sanz, were attacked early Sunday morning near 13th Street and Tremont Place in downtown Denver.
Baynes was not on duty when the shooting occurred. He has been place on administrative leave until the investigation is complete.
Baynes and Sanz had just left a downtown Denver nightclub when a group of people about 20 feet ahead of them began arguing with people in a stopped car.
The vehicle's occupants yelled racial slurs at Baynes and his girlfriend and assaulted the couple with their fists, feet and possibly weapons, according to police reports.
Sanz was treated for facial injuries and will require additional surgery to her mouth, said J.D. Hays, director of Steamboat Springs Public Safety Services.
The five suspects are facing hate crime charges because of the reported racial epithets.
"There were numerous witnesses that witnessed this thing," Hays said. "They support the officer's version of what happened."
Baynes was close enough to his car to remove a weapon from inside the vehicle and fire on his attackers.
The assailants took off after the shooting.
The Denver Police Department is handling the case.
Hays said he is confident the district attorney's office in Denver will find the shooting justified.