By Joel Warner
By Michael Roberts
By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
Bishop's Denver record begins in 1993; it's dotted with various nonviolent criminal arrests, including trespassing, theft and possession of burglary tools.
At the time of the shooting, Bishop was on intensive probation out of Arapahoe County for burglary, says chief probation officer Frank Minkner. Bishop was wearing a monitor; according to court records, he'd called his probation officer and told her he was going to the Taste of Colorado that evening.
"Obviously, we've filed a complaint in this case," Minkner says. "If he makes bond, he'll be immediately turned over to the Arapahoe County sheriff."
Bishop's court-appointed attorney, public defender Mike Linge, declines to discuss his client's case.
To date, Nielsen is the only witness to identify Bishop as both the BMW's driver and the man directing the shooting. And if police locate the suspected shooter, Nielsen says he may be able to recognize him, too.
Juan Chavez-Holguin felt something hot hit his right side, and then he started slowly sliding to the ground. "As I was falling, I realized I had been shot," Chavez-Holguin says through an interpreter. "There was a large amount of blood. A woman went into McDonald's and got some napkins and put them on the wound."
Chavez-Holguin is a quiet man who doesn't like to attract undue attention to himself. So when he saw the men fighting near the mall bus stop, he averted his eyes and moved faster. "I walked on," he says. "I wasn't even looking."
After he was shot, some people pulled him into the entryway of the bank building on the corner. As the crowd around him got larger, Chavez-Holguin became more and more confused. A Mexican national, he understands very little English. "I thought I was going to die," he says. "I was thinking about my wife and children. It was all I could think about."
He has worked in the United States for eight years; each week he sends money back to his wife and five children, ages four to fifteen. Fifty minutes before being shot, he had gotten off his job as a busboy at a Cherry Creek restaurant.
It wasn't until he'd been at the hospital for about an hour that he realized he was not going to die. Chavez-Holguin was patched up and released the next day. The bullet remains in his side.
"They didn't take it out," he says. "It doesn't hurt."
He missed two weeks of work while recovering, and his family was forced to scrimp during that time. "It was very hard on us," he says. "We don't have much."
He never saw the man who shot him.
Chavez-Holguin's shooting rated barely a mention in just one of the next day's papers, even though it had occurred on downtown's busiest weekend of the year.
Justin Nielsen, wearing his usual leather jacket and ponytail, is walking along the mall, his head turning constantly from one side to the other. "I glance at the bus stops, I look around corners," he says. "It's automatic for me. I wonder if that guy across the street knows who I am. You look behind your back when you're walking. When I have that anxiety, it makes me mad that some outside agency--these gang members--can make me feel that way."
As the owner of a company that serves court subpoenas, thirty-year-old Nielsen says he's used to some danger in his life. But he readily admits that the Bishop case has him worried. "It's amazing what happens when you stand up to people," he says.
Twice, Nielsen says, he has found himself face-to-face with a threatening gang member because of his involvement in the Bishop case. In response, he has changed his name, moved his office and stopped going to his regular hangouts. "I'm not going to be afraid, but I'm not going to be stupid, either," he says.
A week after the shooting, Nielsen says, he was standing at the bus stop in front of his office building when a man in gang colors confronted him. "Hey, are you Nielsen?" the man asked him. "You marked, you marked."
Nielsen quickly boarded his bus. When he later told police of the incident, they said there wasn't much they could do. "You marked" wasn't a clear threat, they told him.
"I thought, come on--what do you think they meant?" Nielsen says.
Threats are often difficult to prove, according to Henry Cooper, the assistant district attorney assigned to this case. "While the victim feels intimidated--and probably should--it's too vague to take to a jury," he says. "It's frustrating."
Then, three weeks ago, Nielsen says, another man wearing sagging pants and a baseball cap walked into a gay club that he frequents.
"It was obvious that the guy didn't belong there," says Ralph Scottie, Nielsen's business associate for the past two years.
"He walked past me several different times while we were playing pool," Nielsen recalls. "I just thought he was some asshole at that time. Five or ten minutes later, I was sitting at a table and he came over and sat down. He called me `Nielsen' and said I better live it up while I still can--because I don't have long to live."