Unfortunately, weekend shootings that may be gang-related are becoming more commonplace in the Denver metro area of late.
After the previous weekend, we told you about a shooting in Park Hill that looked like it might have a gang connection. The Denver Police Department has not announced any arrests in the case.
And yesterday — Sunday, May 17 — three separate shooting incidents took place — two in Aurora and one in Commerce City.
An arrest has been made in the latter, but no one has been reportedly busted in the pair of Aurora cases, which left two people very seriously wounded.
Let's take the incidents in chronological order.
At approximately 4:10 a.m. on Sunday, police in Aurora received a report of shots fired in the vicinity of East 23rd Avenue and North Dayton Street. The area is captured in the following interactive graphic; if you have problems seeing the image, click "View on Google Maps."
From there, things get vague. An Aurora Police Department release says that "several shots had been fired from several weapons, possibly from people on foot and/or in vehicles."
No victim was on the scene — but a short time later, an adult male walked into an area hospital. He'd been shot in the leg.
Doesn't sound all that bad, but it was. According to the APD, the wound was life-threatening. At last report, the man was in critical condition.
Thus far, the APD hasn't shared any suspect information.
Less than an hour later, at 4:53 a.m., officers with the Commerce City Police Department were dispatched to a home on the 6100 block of East 60th Place in regard to what's described as "a disturbance involving a gun."
There, cops found two gunshot victims, both adult males.
The pair were transported to a local hospital, and a third person with a gunshot wound was also thought to have been involved — something confirmed by the CCPD just after 9 p.m. last night.
A short time earlier, Miguel DeJesus Mendoza, 28, was released from Denver Health, only to be immediately taken into custody on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder.
He'd been treated for non-life-threatening gunshot wounds to his upper and lower body.
The Commerce City cops also revealed the identities of the two other people who'd been shot: Zachary Green, nineteen, and Artenio Avila, 21. Greene was shot in the head and was in critical condition as of last night. Avila took a bullet in the abdomen and is said to be in stable condition. The CCPD notes that "additional suspect(s) and charges are pending, as the investigation is ongoing."
Finally, at 5:50 p.m., another adult male walked into an Aurora area hospital with a gunshot wound. This time, the injury was to the chest.
Investigators subsequently determined that the man had been shot while sitting in a vehicle near the intersection of East 13th Avenue and North Moline Street. Here's an interactive graphic of that area.
The shooter is described as "an unknown male," who produced a gun and shot the man in the car.
This time, there is a suspect description: a five-ten Hispanic male with a medium build and a mustache who wore a gray shirt.
Those with information about the 23rd and Dayton shooting are encouraged to call Agent Mark Yacano at 303-739-6090 or Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867). If you know anything about the 13th and Moline incident, calls should be directed to Agent Jamie Krieger at 303-739-6113 or the Crime Stoppers digits above. In both cases, rewards of up to $2,000 are being offered.
It's important to note that authorities haven't directly tied any of yesterday's shootings to gangs — not yet, anyhow. But in an attempt to overcome the reluctance of possible witnesses or tipsters in such cases to speak up and point fingers, the Denver Police Department has created a new public-service announcement inspired by the death of Marcus Mason, an aspiring rap producer who was reportedly gunned down in 2007 for the sin of wearing a blue shirt in a territory controlled by a gang that prefers red.
Here's the clip.