Crime

Most Dangerous Denver Police Districts in 2021

Katereen "Katy" Pivoda and her friend Jenifer Gelvin were allegedly killed by Pivoda's estranged husband, Matthew Madden, last September at a home in Denver Police District 3.
Andrew Bisset via CBS4 Denver
Katereen "Katy" Pivoda and her friend Jenifer Gelvin were allegedly killed by Pivoda's estranged husband, Matthew Madden, last September at a home in Denver Police District 3.
Denver suffered 96 homicides last year, according to data from the Denver Police Department — the most since 1981. With a current population of approximately 750,000, Denver was much larger in 2021 than in 1981, when the city had about 500,000 residents; still, this growth hardly mitigates the worst homicide total in four decades.

Forty of the 2021 homicides took place in just two of the city's seven police districts. District 2 and District 3 each registered twenty homicides, according to DPD figures. The overwhelming majority of the victims were people of color or women killed in domestic-violence scenarios; 85 percent of the fatal incidents involved a gun.

While "homicide" and "murder" are often treated as synonyms, "homicide" is officially defined as the killing of a human being by another person, whether intentionally or accidentally. As a result, homicide can encompass a variety of crimes in addition to murder, including manslaughter and more, and can be deemed legally justified if an individual is found to have acted in self-defense.

In rough terms, Denver District 1 covers the northwest part of the city, District 2 the north, District 3 from the center to the southeast, District 4 the southwest, District 5 the northeast, District 6 downtown and District 7 the airport. Here are the boundaries:
Only one of these areas, District 7, saw no homicides in 2021, and District 1 managed to stay below ten; the rest hit double digits. Here's the breakdown.
District 1: 9
District 2: 20
District 3: 20
District 4: 16
District 5: 17
District 6: 14
District 7: 0
Of the forty homicides in District 2 and District 3, ten are classified as "open," designating that they're crimes for which no one has yet been charged. Another fifteen are labeled "Cleared by arrest," because DPD investigators believe they've found the perpetrators. One of these cases involves the September 2021 deaths of Katereen "Katy" Pivoda and her friend, Jennifer Gelvin; Matthew Madden, Pivoda's estranged husband, was taken into custody on suspicion of first-degree murder.

The rest of the homicides are marked either "Cleared" or "Cleared — Refused," because either the Denver District Attorney's Office has decided that prosecution isn't warranted or the guilty party is no longer alive. That's the case with the January 2021 murder-suicide committed by Denton Roberts, who took the lives of his wife, Suni Grooms, and their one-month-old daughter, Atlas, before killing himself.

Pivoda and Grooms were among six white females killed in District 2 and District 3 last year. Six other female victims were either Black or Hispanic. The remaining 28 victims comprised seventeen Black males, six Hispanic males and five white males. The weapons used in 34 of the 40 homicides are described as either firearms or handguns; five others involved knives, while the method used in the February 2021 killing of Roxanne Martinez, 31, is summarized as "blunt force."

Around three-quarters of the District 2 and District 3 homicides were committed at night or during the early hours of the morning at widely scattered locations. If you live in these districts, there's a good chance one happened not far from you. A few of the victims were well known, including tattoo artists Alyssa Gunn-Maldonado and Alicia Cardenas, who were murdered in late December at the latter's tattoo shop, Sol Tribe, during a shocking crime spree. Many other names will likely be unfamiliar — and unfortunately, there are a lot of them.

Continue to see details about the 2021 homicide victims in District 2 and District 3, listed in chronological order for each.

District 2

1. Lewis Garcia, 34
Hispanic male
January 27, 2021
12:15 a.m.
5500 East Colfax Avenue
Firearm
Cleared — Refused

2. Brian Connelly, 26
White male
January 30, 2021
1:20 a.m.
East 52nd Avenue/North Steele Street
Firearm
Open

3. Jermaine Riley, 38
Black male
January 30, 2021
10:30 p.m.
8415 East Colfax
Firearm
Open

4. Shumma Woldu Agar, 34
Black male
February 10, 2021
11:05 p.m.
East 17th Avenue and Uinta Street
Firearm
Open

5. Marcus Hall, 51
Black male
March 11, 2021
12:35 a.m.
8500 East Colfax Avenue
Firearm
Open

6. Christopher Janis, 37
Black male
April 14, 2021
11:35 p.m.
6701 East Colfax Avenue
Firearm
N/A

7. Lee Arthur Walker, 69
Black male
May 20, 2021
12:53 a.m.
1500 block of North Colorado Boulevard
Handgun
Cleared — Refused

8. Julian Batista, 18
White male
June 6, 2021
9:47 p.m.
1454 North Jersey Street
Firearm
Open

9. Antonio Hernandez-Pozos, 26
Hispanic male
June 8, 2021
10:32 p.m.
7313 East Colfax Avenue
Firearm
Open

10. Lauren Duncan, 34
Black female
June 11, 2021
3:10 p.m.
3262 North Steele Street
Knife
Cleared by arrest

11. Neomi Tafoya, 41
Hispanic female
July 24, 2021
5:48 p.m.
4762 North Vine Street
Firearm
Cleared

12. Johnny Peralta, 35
Hispanic male
August 1, 2021
8:53 pm.
3625 North Elizabeth Street
Firearm
Open

13. Darrian Butler, 27
Black male
August 11, 2021
4:09 p.m.
4535 East Colfax Avenue
Handgun
Cleared by arrest

14. Abraham Yohannes, 16
Black male
September 15, 2021
11 p.m.
1437 North Yosemite Street
Handgun
Cleared by arrest

15. Olivya Hill, 29
Black female
September 18, 2021
2:19 p.m.
40th Avenue/Steele Street
Handgun
Cleared by arrest

16. Timothy Massengale, 62
Black male
October 9, 2021
9:52 p.m.
7355 East 22nd Avenue
Firearm
Open

17. Robert Turner, 54
Black male
October 25, 2021
2:57 p.m.
3683 North Monaco Street
Firearm
Cleared by arrest

18. Jy'air Johnson, 14
Black male
October 31, 2021
1:28 p.m.
1150 North Syracuse Street
Firearm
Cleared by arrest

19. Devaughn Jackson, 32
Black male
November 10, 2021
9:05 pm.
1109 North Willow Street
Firearm
Cleared — Refused

20. Fabian Olguin, 30
Hispanic male
November 20, 20221
8:24 p.m.
4600 East 48th Avenue
Knife
Cleared by arrest

District 3

1. Suni Grooms, 34
White female
January 10, 2021
12 p.m.
1767 South Logan Street
Firearm
Cleared — Refused

2. Atlas Roberts, one month
White male
January 10, 2021
12 p.m.
1767 South Logan Street
Firearm
Cleared — Refused

3. Edgar Arambula-Barreras, 30
Hispanic male
January 26, 2021
11:45 a.m.
400 block of South Broadway
Firearm
Cleared by arrest

4. Roxanne Martinez, 31
Hispanic female
February 25, 2021
6:30 p.m.
3700 South Wabash Street
Blunt force
Cleared by arrest

5. Wayne Johnson, 53
White male
March 10, 2021
7:12 a.m.
335 West Yale Avenue
Firearm
Cleared by arrest

6. Darren Puckett, 26
Black male
April 12, 2021
2:52 p.m.
1090 South Parker Road
Firearm
Cleared — Refused

7. Carl Lee Kern, 26
Black male
May 7, 2021
7:53 a.m.
10700 East Dartmouth Avenue
Firearm
Cleared — Refused

8. Melissa Wright, 41
White female
May 28, 2021
11:45 p.m.
7108 East Lowry Boulevard
Firearm
Cleared by arrest

9. Renys Arias, 27
Hispanic male
June 20, 2021
10:49 p.m.
2570 South Dayton Way
Handgun
Open

10. Taryn Meyer, 38
White male
July 24, 2021
2:27 a.m.
4955 East Donald Avenue
Firearm
Cleared by arrest

11. Elwood Johnson, 34
Black male
2:27 a.m.
July 24, 2021
4955 East Donald Avenue
Firearm
Cleared by arrest

12. Raymond Lee, 56
Black male
August 1, 2021
10:30 p.m.
8400 Lowry
Knife
Cleared — Refused

13. Harold Brown, 18
Black male
September 12, 20212
3:03 p.m.
10700 East Dartmouth Avenue
Firearm
Open

14. Katereen Pivoda, 41
White female
September 29, 2021
12:10 a.m.
2285 South Marion Street
Knife
Cleared by arrest

15. Jennifer Gelvin, 49
White female
September 29, 2021
12:10 a.m.
2285 South Marion Street
Knife
Cleared by arrest

16. Tyriana Ravenell, 16
Black female
October 11, 2021
11:34 p.m.
10025 East Girard Avenue
Firearm
Cleared — Refused

17. Robert Phillips, 33
Black male
October 14, 20221
9:40 p.m.
761 North Quince Street
Firearm
Cleared — Refused

18. Kathryn Cochran, 43
White female
November 8, 2021
5:45 a.m.
8101 East Dartmouth Avenue, #21
Firearm
Cleared — Refused

19. Alicia Cardenas, 44
Hispanic female
December 27, 2021
5:25 p.m.
56 North Broadway
Handgun
Cleared

20. Alyssa Gunn, 35
White female
December 27, 2021
5:25 p.m.
56 North Broadway
Handgun
Cleared

This is the first in a series about Denver homicides in 2021.