Video: Was 30th and Downing light-rail beating a drug deal gone wrong?
Update: Earlier this month, we reported about a light-rail attack caught on camera near 30th and Downing -- the third assault at such a station in the past few months. See our previous coverage below.
The latest: Leopoldo Maes, 23, is the fifth and presumably final person to be arrested in conjunction with the case. However, the working theory about the incident reportedly suggests a drug deal gone wrong, with the victim of the pummeling, seen on video below, declining to cooperate with the investigation.
Here's footage of the September 18 attack on a man identified as Gregory Moscato, 23:
The assault, which followed crimes at light-rail stations in Lakewood and Arapahoe County in June, wasn't made public for weeks, and neither was the arrest of Daishawn Matthews shortly after it happened. Denver Police Chief Robert White subsequently apologized for the delay -- but information uncovered by CBS4 correspondent Brian Maass suggests a possible reason.
According to the broadcaster, Matthews's bust was followed by cuffings of three juveniles thought to have taken part in the offense. Then, on Friday, Leopoldo Maes, 23, was taken into custody and charged for his alleged role in the attack. Documents received by Westword show that he was jailed on suspicion of robbery and failure to appear on a previous warrant. His mug shot isn't being released at this time because interviews in the case are still ongoing.
Apparently, though, Moscato isn't involved in these conversations: Sources tell CBS4 that he isn't cooperating with the investigation. He's also taken down the Facebook page on which the image seen above was found earlier this month.
Why? Maass is told that the attack doesn't seem to be random, since Moscato appeared to know two of the people who eventually beat him to a pulp, leaving him motionless on the ground. Two police officials who spoke to CBS4 anonymously reportedly believe the six people involved may have been taking part in a drug transaction "that didn't pan out."
Does that mean the five people who beat Moscato will walk? Not necessarily. Denver District Attorney's Office spokesperson Lynn Kimbrough tells Maass that prosecutions can move forward even when victims won't lend a helping hand if there's other evidence of a crime.
Like, for instance, video of the attack.
Look below to see a 7News report on the =crime, aired shortly after the news broke. That's followed by our previous reporting.
Update, 8:55 a.m. October 9: Yesterday morning, we reported about a brutal assault at a Denver light-rail station, the third such attack in the metro area since June; see our previous coverage below. From the beginning, observers wondered why the Denver Police Department had waited weeks to make information about the crime public, and the DPD has now acknowledged that it erred in keeping quiet for so long, as well as not immediately revealing that one suspect, Daishawn Matthews, seen here, was busted the night of the beatdown.
Turns out Matthews' name had indeed been shared by the DPD in its standard daily media report. His alleged September 18 crime is described as "robbery -- street," with the address given as 30th and Downing -- the location of a light-rail station where 23-year-old Gregory Moscato was pummeled and stomped in view of Halo cameras. However, the data-dump format of these reports omits any specifics.
The full video is below, but here's a screen capture of Moscato laying on the ground afterward:
While the attack took place near the middle of last month, Metro Denver Crime Stoppers didn't share the video until this week, leaving riders at the station unaware of what had gone down or that additional suspects were at large.
As the hue and cry over the incident rose, Denver Police Chief Robert White called a news conference at which he conceded that details about the assault should have been shared a lot closer to when the crime happened.
The DPD tweeted this photo of Police Chief Robert White meeting the media.
"In hindsight we absolutely should have released this information earlier to the community," White told the assembled journalists. "The desire is to balance notifying the community with closing the case."
That investigation is ongoing. In addition to Matthews, the cops are said to have identified one other person of interest in the matter -- which leaves at least three of the attackers unknown at this point. And why the information about Matthews wasn't shared at the same time as the video remains a mystery.
Here's a larger look at Matthews' booking photo, followed by a CBS4 report about the latest developments and our previous coverage, including the complete surveillance video and details about the two previous light-rail-station attacks.
Continue for our previous coverage of the latest metro-area light-rail attack, including photos and videos. Original post, 6:02 a.m. October 8: Back in June, we told you about not one but two attacks at area light-rail stations -- one in Lakewood, the other in Arapahoe County. See details and photos about these separate crimes below.
Now, there's been a third, and presumably unrelated, attack -- this one at the 30th and Downing station -- and the brutality of the beatdown is positively shocking.
See videos and learn more about what happened below.
Near where the first crime took place.
The first assault? We noted in our original coverage that the five suspects -- four African Americans and one Hispanic, all male -- either got up early or stayed up late in order to perpetrate their heist. The crime took place RTD 9 Mile Station, 3181 South Parker Road, on June 14 at 5:40 a.m.
The men approached the victim in a parking garage. They initially asked for his phone, after which one of the suspects whipped out a gun and demanded a wallet, too.
Afterward, the five took off in what was described as a 1990s green-over-silver Dodge Ram truck with a green topper and paint oxidation on the roof and the hood.
Here's a video released by Arapahoe county law enforcement.
Shortly after the clip's release, four juveniles were arrested for the crime, with the fifth suspect, said to be an adult, not immediately apprehended.
The scene of the second attack.
Authorities haven't had as much luck when it comes to attack number two. Just before 2 a.m. on Monday, June 17, as we've reported, officers were dispatched to the area of 13th Avenue and Lamar Street, summoned by a husband and wife who'd walked to a nearby West Metro Fire Station after being assaulted.
The man had been pepper sprayed. The woman had been stabbed from behind in the neck/shoulder area.
What happened? The pair are said to have been approached by three males who asked them for a cigarette. They reacted by trying to walk away, at which point the knife and the aerosol canister came out.
To our knowledge, no arrests have been made in the case, perhaps because the suspects aren't seen well in surveillance images from the location. Here's one....
...and here's another:
After these two crimes, we chatted with RTD spokesman Scott Reed, who stressed that security was a major priority for the light-rail operator. Reed added, "Our main focus is on increasing awareness and patrols as much as we can and working directly with law enforcement jurisdictions to make sure they're also aware of what's been going on."
Since then, no additional reports about violence at light-rail stations have surfaced -- until now.
The light-rail station at 30th and Downing.
According to Metro Denver Crime Stoppers, the most recent attack and robbery took place on September 18 -- a delay in reporting of several weeks that hasn't been fully explained at this writing. As you can see in the following video, five men beat, stomped and robbed a 23-year-old man, leaving him on the ground, motionless.
Here's the clip:
The Denver Police Department has also released still images of the five suspects:
Anyone with information about this crime is encouraged to phone Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867); a reward of up to $2,000 is being offered in the case.
In the meantime, advice the RTD's Reed gave us in June still resonates.
"As with any time people are travelling in public, and especially if they're traveling alone, they need to be aware of their surroundings," he said. "If they're noticing unusual behavior of individuals or groups, quickly report that. Because if something doesn't seem right, it probably isn't. People's instincts are usually correct, and they should trust that and as quickly as possible report to law enforcement or RTD security anything that seems suspicious or out of the ordinary."
Here's a 7News report on the latest crime.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Light-rail-station crimes: What is RTD doing to prevent them?"