Update: The Denver Police Department has released mug shots of Dexter Lewis, Joseph Hill and Lynell Hill, the three men suspected of killing five people at Fero's Bar & Grill early Wednesday morning and then setting the business on fire.
We're also getting a closer look at the victims -- a group from a wide range of backgrounds who met their tragic ends side by side.
As we've reported, first responders on the scene after the initial call at 1:50 a.m. on October 17 were fire fighters, due to the blaze engulfing the bar. Once inside, however, they discovered the bodies of four women and one man, later identified as owner Young Fero, 63; Kellene Fallon, 45; Tereasa Beesley, 45; Ross Richter, 29; and Daria Pohl, 22. Police say their remains showed signs of "some trauma," although that phrase has yet to be more specifically described. They're thought to have been killed first, after which a fire was set to destroy evidence of the crime.
Yesterday, we shared photos and stories of Fero and Richter; that information is on view below, as part of our previous coverage. Now, however, we've got more details about the other three victims. Fallon is affectionately referred to by friends who spoke to the Denver Post as "Crazy Kelly." She's said to have lived at a nearby hotel and worked odd jobs, as well as being a Fero's regular.
As for Pohl, her many friends, most of whom called her Dasha rather than Daria, say she worked at a Holiday Inn down the street from Fero's -- and they're devastated by her loss. Her Facebook page features a number of portraits. Here's one example....
...and here's a photo from September that appears to show her posing with Richter, an outdoors lover who moved to Colorado from Kansas a couple of years ago:
As for Beesley, her Facebook page notes that she's a divorced native of Sydney, Montana, who called Denver home. In the "About Me" section, she wrote: "I am still a teenager at heart, love to go out and socialize, but do take my home life with my 2 kids very seriously." Here's a photo fo Beesley:
Regarding the suspects, the Post reports that Lewis's dad was a gang member who died violently in 1994. His criminal record includes robbery, menacing and misdemeanor sexual assault. He's said to be engaged to be married, with a fiancee who's pregnant and only weeks from delivering. As for the Hills, who are brothers, Lynell had a couple of misdemeanor assault charges in Arapahoe County in 2010 and 2011. More recently, Lynell is said to have been involved with a talent agency, while Joseph managed a hotel.
Here are their booking photos. Our previous coverage is below.
Update, 6:54 a.m. October 18: Moments ago, Denver Police Chief Robert White and Commander Ron Saunier announced that three arrests had been made in the quintuple murders that took place early yesterday morning at Fero's Bar & Grill on Colorado Boulevard; see our previous coverage below. According to White and Saunier, the incident began as a robbery before escalating into homicide and arson. More details below.
After a brief introduction by Chief White at this morning's news conference, which got underway a few minutes after the scheduled 6:30 a.m. start time, Commander Saunier offered the thoughts and prayers of the Denver Police Department to the family and friends of the five victims in the Fero's case, as well as to anyone who's lost a loved one through an act of violence.
Then he revealed the arrest of three suspects in the crime. Late last night, close to 11 p.m., he said, various law enforcers cuffed Dexter Lewis (date of birth: February 16, 1990) on the 8300 block of East Colfax. Shortly thereafter, officers took into custody Joseph Hill (date of birth: August 11, 1985) and Lynell Hill (October 27, 1987) on the 4800 block of Quebec Street.
After thanking various agencies for assisting in these busts, Saunier revealed that "it appears that the motive of this crime was robbery. They came in there...I don't want to say it was a robbery gone bad...." He added that "the arson was set to try to cover up the crime scene of the event."
Saunier noted that key information was received after a 2 p.m. news conference yesterday at which little new was divulged about the investigation, which began after a fire call at the bar led to the discovery of four women and one man whose bodies bore the marks of "some trauma." According to Saunier, "detectives ran numerous search warrants. They're still working on following up. We're at the beginning of developing a case like this."
The suspects are currently being held on suspicion of first-degree murder and felony murder -- five counts' worth apiece -- plus aggravated robbery and arson. There could also be additional charges down the line.
Right now, the DPD believes all the suspects in the case are in custody, and that all three were physically in the bar at the time the crime was committed. Investigators aren't releasing mug shots yet. However, Saunier described the records of the suspects as "very limited in the State of Colorado."
More on this story as it develops. In the meantime, continue reading to learn more about the victims of this brutal crime.
Update, 6:04 a.m. October 17: Photos and additional information are surfacing about some of the five victims murdered at Fero's Bar & Grill early yesterday in what Denver Police Chief Robert White is describing as a "homicide-arson," in which four women and one man were killed and then a fire was set; see our earlier coverage below. Here are more details about bar owner Young Fero and Ross Richter, who lost their lives under terrible but still mysterious circumstances.
Young Fero, 63, was remembered fondly by regulars at the bar who spoke with Fox31. One, Chris Brady, described her as "a sweet old lady who makes great food.... I'm probably here three or four nights a week either playing poker or grabbing some food."
Indeed, Brady had been at the bar on the fatal evening, but left around 11 p.m., when he recalled the joint being all but deserted. The call about a fire there came in at around 1:50 a.m.
Another patron, Michael Yazzie, dropped a flower at the bar in remembrance of Fero. He recalled her saying no one gave her flowers anymore.
Folks speaking with CBS4 had similarly warm recollections about Fero, who's said to have regularly given away food to the nearby homeless and always closed the place herself.
This last habit may explain why Fero was a victim -- although at this point, the police have named no suspects and haven't mentioned anything about motive.
Meanwhile, the sole male victim, Ross Richter, 29, has been confirmed by KSHB-TV to have been a native of Overland Park, Kansas.
The station says he was a 2001 graduate of Shawnee Mission West High School who subsequently matriculated from Kansas State University before moving to Colorado a couple of years ago.
There's not much additional information on his Facebook page, but there are plenty of photos of him enjoying the great outdoors.
Here are some examples.
Look below to see a Fox31 report on the crime, followed by our previous coverage.
Update, 6:21 p.m. October 17: It often takes days for the Denver coroner's office to identify homicide victims. But the office has already released the names of those who lost their lives in a quintuple homicide at Fero's Bar & Grill early this morning -- a crime in which the perpetrator or perpetrators appear to have started a fire after the killing was done. Among the victims: Young Fero, the 63-year-old owner and namesake of the establishment.
Here's the complete list from the coroner's office:
Ms. Daria M. Pohl of Denver (22 year old white female -- DOB: 10-29-1990).
Ms. Kellene Fallon of Denver (45 year old white female -- DOB: 10-24-1967)
Ms. Young Fero of Aurora (63 year old Asian female -- DOB: 7-30-1949)
Mr. Ross Richter (29 year old white male -- DOB: 11/26/1982)
Ms. Tereasa Beesley of Denver, Colorado (45 year old white female -- DOB 7-10-1967)
At this point, the autopsy results in each case is listed as pending. However, there's no mystery about the manner of death: homicide.
As for a possible motive, the police are not sharing any information at this time. However, the Denver Post reports that the bar was struggling financially. No way of knowing at this point if this issue was a factor in the homicides -- the sort of brutal act that's left the community reeling.
Look below to see our previous coverage.
Update, 2:35 p.m. October 17: Moments ago, Denver Police Chief Robert White made his second appearance before media mics regarding a quintuple slaying at Fero's Bar & Grill; see our previous coverage below. White said what he's calling a "homicide-arson" is "very alarming" and noted that officers are actively looking into tips received in the hours since the five victims were discovered.
White began by extending the department's condolences to the family and loved ones of the victims and emphasized that the Denver Police will use all of its power and resources to find the perpetrators of this deadly act.
Next, he noted that investigators remained inside the Colorado Boulevard venue and described damage done by a fire apparently set to destroy evidence after the murders took place as "extensive." He added that officers were canvassing the area to see if security cameras at nearby businesses had captured any footage that could aid officers in tracking down the killer.
No more info about the identities of the victims. White said representatives of the Denver coroner's office would release the names and causes of death "when they deem it appropriate to do so."
Otherwise, the investigation is ongoing, he stressed -- and the department has "received some tips," he pointed out. "Some of those, we think, will be helpful."
He encouraged anyone with additional information, no matter how trivial it might seem, to phone the department's main line, 720-913-2000, or Crime Stoppers, at 720-913-STOP (7867).
Then came questions from the assembled media, most of which White declined to answer. He wouldn't talk about whether a weapon had been found inside the bar, for instance, and refused to rule out any possibilities in response to a question about whether gang involvement is suspected. Likewise, he wouldn't say whether the victims were employees, customers or others.
However, he did confirm that the department had not received any calls about Fero's prior to the early hours of this morning. That's when the Glendale Fire Department received a report of a fire, after which personnel discovered the five fatalities -- four women and one man whose bodies bore the marks of what he previously described as "some trauma."
The incident is "very alarming," White allowed. For that reason, it's "so important we investigate it to the fullest -- use the eyes and ears of anyone who may have heard or seen anything to bring this to closure as expeditiously as possible.
"It is hopeful this is an isolated incident," he went on, "but I can't say that with any definitiveness. We haven't gotten that far in the investigation." In the meantime, he advised residents, "like I would advise anyone," to pay attention to their surroundings and call the police "if you see anything even remotely suspicious."
Continue to see our previous coverage, including a video and a map of the area near the crime scene. Update, 9:48 a.m. October 17: At this writing, investigators remain on the scene at Fero's Bar & Grill, where a fire call early this morning led to the shocking discovery of five dead bodies. The Denver Police Department is keeping most of the details to emerge thus far out of the public eye. But a spokesman has offered one more insight: Cops suspect that the victims were killed and then the fire was set, presumably to destroy evidence of the crime.
That's the word from Denver Police Commander Ron Saunier, quoted by 9News. Other information was provided by Police Chief Robert White at an early morning news conference. Look below to see our previous coverage.
Original post, 5:46 a.m. October 17: Moments ago, Denver Police Chief Robert White held a highly unusual 5:30 a.m. press conference due to a highly unusual, and extraordinarily brutal, crime.
White confirmed the death of five people at Fero's Bar & Grill in what's being investigated as, in his words, "an arson-homicide."
During his brief remarks, White provided only the most basic information about the crime. According to him, a call came in to the Glendale Fire Department at 1:50 a.m. this morning about a fire at Fero's, 357 South Colorado Boulevard, which is described like so in our Voice Places listing:
A longstanding dive that has been around for decades, Fero's Bar & Grill has almost everything a neighborhood joint needs - cheap drinks, decent food (an interesting mix of burgers, subs, pizza and Japanese bowls), pool tables and entertainment on the weekends. While it's not necessarily the liveliest place in town, this low-profile bar in a strip mall on the outskirts of Cherry Creek North offers a respite from the high-priced spots in the area. Fero's attracts a number of unpretentious regulars as well as travelers staying at nearby hotels.
Glendale personnel raced to the scene, White continued, and upon their arrival, they discovered five fatalities -- four females and one male -- all with what White described as "some trauma" to their bodies.
When asked by the reporters at the scene to further describe what he meant by "some trauma" -- and whether bullets could have been involved in addition to presumed damage caused by the blaze -- White declined to get more specific at this time.
At this time, the dead have not been identified pending notification of family members, White said. He added that no suspects are being named at this time.
Arson investigators remain at the scene and streets around Fero's are currently closed, although White expects that traffic will be flowing in all directions by later this morning. He offered no characterization about the amount of damage to the bar.
We'll be following this story as it develops. In the meantime, here's a video of White at the scene courtesy of CBS4 and a look at an interactive graphic of the area near the scene. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."
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