Early on June 20, five people were shot — one fatally — following a Juneteenth celebration at an Aurora shopping mall. No arrests have yet been made in connection with the incident — the third homicide, and second multiple-victim shooting, in Aurora over a nine-day period.
The gunfire can't be considered the opening shots in yet another summer of violence in Aurora, but only because summer officially started at 9:31 p.m. last night.
At around 4:19 a.m. on June 20, according to the Aurora Police Department, dispatchers received "at least fifty calls for service reporting shots being fired or an active shooter in a shopping mall parking lot located at 12455 East Mississippi Avenue."
Upon their arrival, officers spotted what they described as a "very large crowd," as well as an adult male who'd been shot. He was transported to a local hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds. The victim's name will be released by the Arapahoe County coroner's office following next-of-kin notification.
Four other people were hit: three adult males and one adult female. All of them managed to get to area hospitals on their own; their injuries are characterized as ranging from minor to serious, but none are considered life-threatening, even though investigators collected "more than 114 shell casings" — one of several factors that suggest multiple shooters took part.
Details of the event that drew crowds to this location are sketchy, but the APD reveals that a Juneteenth celebration was staged "in an unnamed unit of the shopping mall. At some point earlier in the evening, presumed organizers of the celebration began denying access to the unit. This led many attendees to gather in the parking lot."
Just nine days before, on June 11, Aurora's Meadow Hills neighborhood was rocked by its own multiple shooting. Police responded to a shots-fired report at about 10:20 p.m. near the intersection of South Fraser Street and South Fraser Court, but found no victims at that location. However, officers later learned that two males — one an adult, the other a seventeen-year-old — had been driven to a local hospital in a private vehicle. The adult, later identified as eighteen-year-old Marquez Q. Brown, died there a short time later. So far, no one has been arrested in connection with this incident.
There was another shooting in Aurora on June 20, too. At approximately 8:26 a.m., officers found a deceased woman who'd been shot at 1620 South Granby Street — and this time, investigators have named a person of interest: Ryan Scott Avery, 39. Avery is a white male, approximately 5' 11" and 155 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. He's believed to be driving a 2008 silver Lexus IS four-door with Colorado license plate BIX-360. And he's also wanted for an attempted homicide in Elizabeth, Colorado, on June 19.
If you spot Avery, who's considered armed and dangerous, dial 911. Those with information about any of the other shootings can contact Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867; tipsters can remain anonymous and may be eligible to collect up to $2,000.