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Chris Haney, Gothic Theatre staffer, dies in Denny's shooting, Robert Bernal busted (75)

As the weather has warmed up, the number of homicides in the metro area has escalated in a disturbing way. We added three new posts to our Mile High Murder archive last week alone, and early Saturday morning, another homicide took place outside a Denny's restaurant.

The victim: Chris Haney, a beloved employee of the Gothic Theatre who had a young daughter. The arrestees: Robert Bernal and a juvenile said to be Bernal's little brother. Details, photos and video below.

The scene of the crime.
The scene of the crime.

Here's the first tweet from the Denver Police Department about the incident:

The next update was even more distressing:

What happened? According to 7News, Haney, age 36, was shot trying to break up a fight at the Denny's near Santa Fe and Alameda that started inside the restaurant and ended in tragedy outside it.

Another photo of Haney.
Another photo of Haney.

That he died trying to be a peacemaker is perfectly in keeping with the portrait of Haney painted by his many friends and acquaintances on the Denver music scene. Our Dave Herrera has posted a great profile of Haney on Westword's Backbeat blog, and in it, he shares the following anecdote from former Cephalic Carnage bassist Jawsh Mullen: "He was the guy that would help me cool people out and stop fights. He was always the guy, if there was ever any disagreements, he'd always be like, 'Man, it's just not...you don't want to do that.'"

Herrera also shares a post from Haney's Facebook page. The topic is presumably the Boston Marathon bombing, but in the wake of his death, it serves as a

"Bad things are gonna happen. I know this from what I know about the history of our world. Truth is they have always happened and I surmise they will keep happening. Which SUCKS because deep inside everyone knows how all of this is gonna end. Love wins. Love will always win. Remember the everyday heroes who only know to help. Forgive those who do harm. They are adrift and will know love soon enough. Rejoice in the good that happens whenever, wherever and see the worst as only a means to that end. Now go do some good. It comes back, ya know."

The Gothic Theatre, where Haney worked as a bartender.
The Gothic Theatre, where Haney worked as a bartender.

Haney leaves behind a wife and a five-year-old daughter.

As for the individuals who took Haney's life, the DPD believes they've got the perpetrators, as noted in this tweet from later on Saturday:

The juvenile's name has not been released, but 7News quotes Bernal's mother as confirming that the younger suspect is Robert's younger brother.

No official charges have been filed thus far. In the meantime, though, we offer our condolences to Haney's friends, family and loved ones.

Look below to see the 7News report, followed by an interactive graphic showing the area around the crime scene. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."


View Larger Map

More from our Mile High Murder archives: "Woman in wheelchair, 67, murdered behind East Colfax business (74)."


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