Steamboat Springs A Steamboat Springs police officer who shot at individuals that allegedly attacked him early Sunday morning in Denver has been placed on leave while the incident is investigated.
Officer Damian Baynes shot one of his alleged attackers in the arm after Baynes and his girlfriend, Renee Sanz, were assaulted near 13th Street and Tremont Place. Two Denver men were arrested in the incident.
Baynes was not on duty when the shooting occurred.
"Officer Baynes is on administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation," said J.D. Hays, director of Steamboat Springs Public Safety Services. "He won't go back on the streets until this is resolved."
Baynes, 27, could not be reached for comment.
Baynes and Sanz, 31, were attacked around 1:25 a.m., shortly after leaving a downtown nightclub.
The couple was approximately 20 feet behind an unknown group of people when the group got into an altercation with a stopped car, Denver Police Detective Virginia Lopez said.
Baynes and his girlfriend "had nothing to do with this group," Lopez said. "They just happened to leave the bar behind them."
The people in the car exited the blue Plymouth Neon and began yelling racial epithets at Baynes and Sanz, according to police reports.
"They ... included Baynes and his girlfriend in this group," Lopez said.
Carlos Raymond Cordova, 23, Edward Lee Lucero, 22, and a few other unidentified attackers assaulted the couple with their fists, feet and possible weapons, police reports said.
Baynes was close enough to his car to remove a weapon from inside the vehicle and fire on his attackers, Lopez said.
The assailants took off after the shooting, she said.
Cordova and Lucero were arrested at the hospital where they went for medical treatment.
Sanz was treated for facial injuries.
Lopez said Cordova is being held on investigation of aggravated assault.
Police are still investigating the incident.
Hays said he didn't know if the firearm Baynes used was the primary weapon issued by the city or a secondary firearm.
"Damian was fortunate that he could defend himself," he said. "Based on the information I have, it sounds like the shooting was justified."
But the final determination, he said, lies with the district attorney's office in Denver.