DENVER — A federal grand jury indicted an Aurora man this week on weapons counts after he allegedly brought a handgun with a device that made it fire like an automatic weapon into Children’s Hospital in Aurora last month.
Jeremy Lavon Tate, 27, was indicted on counts of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a prohibited person and possession of a machinegun, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado and federal court documents.
The incident happened shortly after midnight on Sept. 24, when a nurse and others called dispatch to report a man running through Children’s Hospital with a gun.
When Aurora officers arrived at the hospital, a security officer had Tate pinned down on the hospital’s front desk. A University of Colorado Police Department officer was holding a handgun that had been taken off Tate, and another officer was taking an unidentified man into custody, according to an affidavit.
Tate had gotten into the hospital by forcing his way through two sets of staff entrance doors, then got stuck behind a third set of doors, according to the affidavit.
A nurse spotted that Tate was holding a gun and running toward the hospital lobby and called police. He got into the front desk area, at which time the UCPD officers arrived and took a pistol out of Tate’s waistband, according to the affidavit.
Aurora officers took hold of the gun and found it had an automatic-convertor switch near the trigger, which allows the semi-automatic pistol fire as if it were a fully automatic weapon. It also had a 22-round capacity magazine that had 17 rounds inside, plus one that was in the Glock 22’s chamber, per the affidavit.
Such auto-converter switches need to be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives because they can turn semi-automatic weapons into automatic weapons.
An APD officer took the pistol to a firing range and confirmed the weapon was able to fire in a fully automatic capacity. He wrote in the affidavit that squeezing the trigger one time expelled 17 rounds from the magazine “in a matter of seconds.”
Tate was originally booked into jail for investigation on charges but then was charged in the U.S. District Court of Colorado. Exactly what his motive was for entering the hospital while armed is not fully clear from the court documents.
Tate pleaded not guilty to the two counts at a hearing on Thursday in Denver. A judge ordered he be detained pending his next hearing.
The two counts, if Tate is convicted on both counts, carry up to 25 years in prison and/or up to a $500,000 fine altogether.