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Jury convicts man who shot protesters in suburban Denver

April 1, 2022 GMT

DENVER (AP) — A man who shot and wounded two demonstrators while apparently aiming at a Jeep that was headed toward the crowd during a protest in suburban Denver in 2020 was convicted Thursday of several charges.

Samuel Young, 24, was found guilty of two counts of second-degree assault, four counts of attempted manslaughter and a single count of illegally discharging his gun, The Denver Post reported.

Several hundred people who attended the July 2020 protest in Aurora to bring attention to police violence walked onto and blocked all of the lanes of Interstate 225. Shortly after, a Jeep approached from behind and headed toward the crowd, prompting Young to fire five shots.

Two shots hit the back of the Jeep, and two shots hit fellow protesters. One man was shot in the leg, and another man was grazed in the head. A woman also broke her leg when she leaped from the highway.

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The driver, who pulled off the highway and contacted police after the shooting, was not criminally charged. During Young’s trial, prosecutors said he didn’t intend to hurt any protesters.

The protest was organized in support of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who was arrested in August 2019 after someone called 911 to report a suspicious person wearing a ski mask and waving his arms while he walked down the street.

He was arrested by Aurora police and injected with 500 milligrams of ketamine by EMS workers called to the scene. He suffered cardiac arrest, was declared brain dead and taken off life support less than a week later.

McClain’s death became a national rallying cry along with the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in protests calling for police reform.