Nearly 20 injured, 3 killed in shootings in Denver over the past week

DENVER — Nearly 20 people were injured and at least three others killed in shootings in Denver last week, according to the Denver Police Department.

The most recent shooting took place Saturday night near E. 35th Avenue and Forest Street and E. Thrill Place and Hudson Street in Park Hill.

Police say two victims were located at the scene. They said a third victim went to hospital some time later.

On Sunday morning, police announced that one of the victims, an adult male, died from his injuries. The police continue to collect information. So far, no arrests have been made.

The shooting follows several other shootings in Denver over the past few days. They include the early Tuesday morning mass shooting near 20th and Market streets in downtown Denver.

Police say nine people were injured around 12:30 a.m. when a gunman opened fire as people celebrated the Denver Nuggets’ victory in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. In addition to the nine victims, police said the 22-year-old suspect was also injured.

Later that day, police said two people were fatally shot in a road rage incident on Interstate 25 between W. 6e and O.8e avenues. Family members have identified the two victims as Blake Lucas, 21, and Damon Lucas, 22.

Family members say they were brothers on their way to a job interview when the shooting happened. Police have arrested a 25-year-old man for the double homicide.

On Thursday, two people were injured in a shooting in the city center at 17e and Curtis. No arrests were made. Police say both victims are expected to survive.

Other shootings with injuries in the past week were reported at 21st and Laurent and 15e and Tremont Place. A total of at least 19 people were injured in various shootings, according to police.

Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas said the shootings are happening way too often.

“Unfortunately, we once again have far too many guns in our society, far too many individuals who act irresponsibly with guns,” Thomas said. “And that’s definitely something that we, as a community, need to continue to address.”

Denver7 dug into police crime data and found that 37% of reported violent crimes this year, which include murder, aggravated assault, robbery and non-consensual sex offences, involved firearms, mostly handguns.

More than a quarter of offenders arrested by police were aged 24 or younger. Just over a third were between 25 and 34 years old.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said too many young people have grown bolder.

“We have to watch and understand that our young people are getting their hands on guns,” Hancock said during a Thursday news conference with Chief Thomas. “They don’t know how to resolve crises or challenges by having a conversation. They shoot each other. And that makes absolutely no sense. »

In addition to easy access to firearms, Denver Councilman-elect Darrell Watson said he believed there was another contributor to the violence.

“There is a crisis with guns, but for our young people we have to look at the root cause, and a lot of the root causes are down to mental health,” said Watson, who has pledged to work on improving access to mental health once he takes office.

In the first five months of 2023, nearly 3,100 violent crimes were reported, a number comparable to this time last year. However, violent crime has increased dramatically over the past decade.

According to police crime data, violent crime has increased 81% from 2014 to 2022 in Denver. Hancock said Denver isn’t the only city experiencing an upsurge in violence.

He attributes much of the recent violence to “a prolific fentanyl and drug trade” that he says is happening across the country.

“We weren’t immune to it,” Hancock said.

Hancock will step down next month. He will be replaced by Mayor-elect Mike Johnston, who has pledged to send 200 more first responders to the streets, including more community police officers.

Johnston described these officers as those walking around neighborhoods talking to residents and business owners.

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