Donald Lucero has been arrested for a series of assaults on Tuesday, August 15, on the 16th Street Mall, including the alleged punching of a man for laughing. It's the highest-profile crime on the mall since last year, when multiple fights and random attacks were caught on video. Authorities responded by instituting a new safety plan that appears to have lessened but not eliminated violence in the iconic shopping area.
Last summer, as you'll recall, the 16th Street Mall became a bad publicity magnet thanks to viral clips such as one from June that showed Clarence Seeley wildly swinging a PVC pipe at passersby and another circa August that documented cops arriving late to a punch-out and arresting no one.
To try to eliminate such incidents, a coalition of public and private partners announced that the number of police officers patrolling the area would be tripled and supplemented by private security guards, and the effort seemed to make a difference. In another video of a 16th Street Mall fight from September, police arrived at the scene within eleven seconds and promptly busted a suspect, Shonquez Dorsey.
In June of this year, Denver police arrested a man on suspicion of unlawful sexual contact on the mall, the third such incident there in two years. But the months that followed have been blessedly free of the sort of tourist-scaring crimes that came fast and furious during the hot months of 2016.
According to a probable-cause statement, a man later identified as Lucero was walking on the sidewalk near Colfax and Lincoln on the 15th when he sidled up to a man and yelled an obscenity in his face. "The victim laughed because he didn't know what was happening," the report states, "and the arrestee then punched him once in the face, causing his nose to be scratched and bleed."
He wasn't done. At that point, Lucero allegedly headed to 16th and Tremont, where he approached a woman walking with her five-year-old daughter and told her "she looked fine," the PC statement continues. The woman responded by trying to walk away, but investigators say she couldn't outdistance Lucero, who then "ran toward the second victim and punched her once in the cheekbone just under the eye."
Next, Lucero proceeded to 16th and Glenarm and pushed another woman — and when she yelled back at him, he "then grabbed and struck the victim while holding a full can of beer."
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At that point, several witnesses called the cops, and responding officers are said to have observed Lucero "assaulting other unknown parties on his way to 20th and Welton, where he was apprehended."
Lucero was booked on a slew of charges, including assault and endangering the health of a minor — the five-year-old who watched as her mother was slugged.
Aggravated assaults like this one appear to be down substantially from last year — from 37 in 2016 to eight through July 10. Likewise, other assaults on the mall have dipped from 69 last year to 26 by the 10th of last month. But Lucero's spree can't help but recall bad memories that folks who visit the 16th Street Mall were hoping not to revisit again anytime soon.