Graveyard Shift

The City of Denver's plan to stop workplace violence came too late to save John Adamo.

Adamo didn't plan on being a security guard forever. He wanted to go to college "and buy a house some day," says Thames. But while Adamo was at Wastewater, he was determined to be as good a guard as he could. Some employees appreciated his diligence. Some didn't.

"This man carried the job too far," Wastewater construction crew supervisor Anthony Aragon says of Adamo. "He took his job too seriously. If you pull up to the [entry] gate and the other guards recognize you or your car, they'll open it. But this guy, you had to get on the intercom. He thought he was a policeman, not a guard."

Over the years, longtime employees at Wastewater had become accustomed to taking little liberties with city property. Aragon, for example, pulled his car into the garage on a couple of occasions and used the air hose to fill his tires. Others washed their vehicles in the truck bays, where water jets made the job quick and easy.

On or about January 9, Richard Brady pulled his own pickup truck into the bay to rinse off the road salt. He babied that old truck so much, says Aragon, that "you'd think it was new. That's how good he took care of it." Officially, employees weren't allowed to use the bays to wash off their personal vehicles, and when Adamo spotted Brady in the bay, he told him to stop. Brady, however, reportedly continued washing his truck until it was clean.

Adamo noted the incident in his report the following morning. It was a minor infraction, but Brady's immediate supervisor did speak with him about it. "They just told him not to do it again," DeFiore says. That would have closed the book on the incident. But Brady wouldn't, or couldn't, let the matter drop.

On Friday, January 10, according to an incident report Adamo wrote and filed with the building supervisor, Brady stormed into the guards' office and pointed a finger at Adamo. "You're a little rat motherfucker," Brady reportedly said. "You and I are going to war."

The confrontation unnerved Adamo so much that he told his father of his concerns. "That weekend," John Adamo Sr. later wrote in a statement to detectives, "he said he had been threatened again, but this time he was very shaken by the way this man went about the threat. Many rough, verbal and physical gestures. My son was scared. I asked him to just quit, or to ask for a transfer to another location, but he said he couldn't do that."

Supervisors warned Brady to keep his distance from the guard. Kazemian says he spoke to Brady for half an hour. "I heard that management was going to let this go if Richard would just leave the gentleman alone and let him go by the wayside," DeFiore says. "They knew what caliber of man [Brady] is."

Brady apparently did leave Adamo alone for a couple of days. "The last time my son talked to me about this man that threatened him," John Adamo Sr. wrote in his statement to police, "he told me that this man did not even acknowledge his presence; it was as if my son was not there. My son told me that he felt very relieved and that he could live with this. He told me not to worry because, 'this looks like the end of it.'"

But on January 14 Adamo filed another report, accusing Brady of threatening him yet again. "He told me, 'If you're going to write something...you need to get it right,'" Adamo wrote. Brady then left, only to return to the guards' office a short time later to tell Adamo to remove his motorcycle from the garage, where the guard had been parking it.

By the following day, DeFiore had heard about Brady's troubles with Adamo and decided to speak to him about it. "I told him, 'I can't believe you're taking this thing to heart; just let it go,'" DeFiore recalls. "He just told me, he said, 'This guy has no right doing what he's doing.' He said, 'I wasn't hurting anybody, Donnie.' I said, 'You don't want to jeopardize what you have here.' And he said, 'I don't know if I want to let it go.'"

Wastewater maintains records of disciplinary actions against employees for five years, says Kazemian. Brady's record from 1991 through 1996 was clear. Still, Kazemian decided he couldn't allow the situation to escalate further. "I personally told him that I wanted to separate them so he could cool off," Kazemian says. "I said, 'You are not going to lose your job over this.'"

Nonetheless, Kazemian decided he had to place Brady on investigative leave. The paid suspension was to last four days, from Thursday, January 16, to Tuesday, January 21, at which time Kazemian would conduct a fact-finding hearing.

By Tuesday, the issue of a hearing was moot.

Denver homicide detectives summoned to the Wastewater building by DeFiore's 911 call found a particularly brutal crime scene. Adamo had been shot six times, in the head, face, leg and hands.

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