Update: The man who was killed in what Denver police are describing as a gang-related shooting near 35th and Williams late last month has been identified as Dominique Perez.
The Denver Police Department, which has been struggling to quell increasing gang violence in the area of the shooting — the Cole neighborhood — and beyond, is seeking the public's assistance in the case.
But thus far, no one's come forward — and anti-gang activist Reverend Leon Kelly isn't surprised.
The Denver Police Department's description of the incident that took Perez's life is basic.
At approximately 9:45 p.m. on April 28, according to the department, an unknown black male fired several rounds at a residence near the intersection of East 35th Avenue and Williams Street.
Two people were shot, and while one of the victims survived, Perez was killed.
Perez's Facebook page remains online at this writing. It photos like the one at the top of the post, as well as this one:
However, the pic distributed by the Denver Police Department is a mug shot....
...that makes it clear Perez was known to authorities.
According to Reverend Kelly, who heads Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives, this shooting was linked to another one that took place in Park Hill, near 33rd and Krameria, that same evening. In the 33rd and Krameria incident, a man was seriously injured as he was putting a baby into his car.
The coordination of the two shootings represented "almost a military type of strategy" in escalating gang warfare between what Kelly refers to as "the blacks and the browns."
About the 35th and Williams shooting, Kelly told us that gang veterans,, who he calls "oldies," had "told these kids, 'Watch your back. Stay out of the way.' They were warned to keep a low profile. But egos set in and you think, 'I'm not scared. I'm not going to hide. I'm not going to bow down to whatever.' So you're sitting on your porch, chilling, doing what you do, and all of a sudden, you become a visible target. And the outcome is tragedy."
No suspects have been named in Perez's slaying, and while Kelly feels the police may have suspects, witnesses or informers appear to be in short supply.
"In cases like these, some people are not willing to put their safety and their life on the line to talk to the police," Kelly noted, referencing the case of Javad Marshall-Fields and Vivian Wolfe, who were murdered in 2005 after Marshall-Fields had agreed to testify against Robert Ray, a man he'd seen kill a friend of his.
Ray is currently on death row, but the retribution against Wolfe and Marshall-Fields (who was the son of Representative Rhonda Fields) "sends a message," Kelly allows. "Folks say, 'If they'd do that to them, imagine what we could face if we came forward."
Nonetheless, the DPD encourages anyone with information about Perez's murder to reach out via Crime Stoppers. Call 720-913-STOP (7867) or text to 274637 (CRIMES), include the title DMCS and enter a message.
Continue for our previous coverage.
Original post, 5:56 a.m. April 29: Overnight, two more shootings took place in Denver, killing one person and leaving another critically wounded. Denver police are suggesting that gangs may have been involved.
They're the latest of several disturbing events that have residents in a large portion of the city on edge.
In recent weeks, we've reported about increasing violence in Denver, including two terrible events in the Cole neighborhood.
The first involved the murder of Abdul Muhammad, 61, at a house at which multiple shootings had taken place.
Then came a slaying that happened outside the location of Muhammad's funeral, with the victim subsequently identified as Nolan Ware, a Muhammad relative.
A $7,000 reward is being offered for information about the Ware homicide. Here's a Denver Police Department tweet on that subject:
Last night, a neighborhood meeting took place in George Morrison Sr. Park, with speakers such as Denver City Councilman Albus Brooks seeking community input to help end the violence. It was followed by what's been characterized as a peace march.
Meanwhile, a demonstration that included members of Occupy Denver and Denver Anarchist Black Cross was held in the 16th Street Mall area to protest the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody in Baltimore, an incident that's spawned rioting in that city.
Here's a screen capture from the neighborhood meeting, from CBS4 coverage:
As for the protest, here's a screen capture from a video posted on the Occupy Denver events page....
...as well as a video posted by former Westword cover story subject Andrea Mérida:
Ameejill Whitlock, look at this child tonight. For Freddie.Posted by Andrea Mérida on Tuesday, April 28, 2015
The two assemblies didn't devolve into big problems, as the Denver Police Department acknowledged via Twitter. Here's a tweet about the community march....
PEACEFUL MARCH - in the area of MLK and Franklin streets— Denver Police Dept. (@DenverPolice) April 29, 2015
...and another about the Baltimore protest:
UPDATE: Police protestors being protected by Denver Police near Colfax and Lincoln. Traffic delays expected.— Denver Police Dept. (@DenverPolice) April 29, 2015
But then came two more DPD Twitter alerts, each of them extremely disturbing. The first involved a shooting near 33rd and Krameria. That's the one in which a victim was critically wounded.
BREAKING: Report of shooting 3300 Block of Krameria St. 1 victim transported to hospital. No suspect information.— Denver Police Dept. (@DenverPolice) April 29, 2015
The second incident took place about twenty blocks away, by 7News' estimate, near 35th and Williams — and it had deadly consequences.
BREAKING: UPDATE 35th Williams 2 male victims transported to hospital. 1 pronounced dead other condition unknown Suspect(s) still at large.— Denver Police Dept. (@DenverPolice) April 29, 2015
Thus far, the person killed in the 35th and Williams shooting hasn't been identified.
However, 7News notes that police suspect gangs were involved in both crimes.
As alluded to in the above tweets, no suspect information has been released in either case, and neither have investigators definitively linked the shootings — meaning there's no public indication that they were related.
What's undeniable, however, is that the escalating violence in the Cole neighborhood and beyond is of grave concern to residents and officials alike.
Thus far, however, no one has quite figured out how to stop it.
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