Golden Triangle Stabbing Area No Stranger to Murder, Gay Hate Crimes

The intersection of 11th and Lincoln.
The intersection of 11th and Lincoln. Google Maps
The Memorial Day weekend stabbing of a gay couple on 11th Avenue near Lincoln Street in the Golden Triangle, which led to the arrest of 24-year-old Dylan Payne, appears to be a bias-motivated crime, since the assailant allegedly called the victims "faggots" during the attack.

Unfortunately, the area, which is also home to Westword's 969 Broadway headquarters, is no stranger to such attacks — a number of which have been fatal — or gay hate crimes, either.

Just shy of 1 a.m. on Sunday, May 27, according to Payne's probable-cause statement, two men — Christopher Huizar and Gabriel Roman have stepped forward on social media and elsewhere to identify themselves — were walking down the street after leaving the Church nightclub when a man began to yell homophobic slurs at them, including "faggots." He then stabbed both using a folding pocket knife.

Huizar suffered a wound to his neck, while Roman received injuries to his back and hands; both were treated at a nearby medical facility and released. But not Payne, who was placed on a hold at Denver Health Medical Center — which explains why he's wearing a hospital gown in his booking photo.

click to enlarge Christopher Huizar was stabbed in the throat. - FACEBOOK
Christopher Huizar was stabbed in the throat.
The 11th and Lincoln location was the site of a murder a little over five years ago. In November 2012, Roland Smith, 47, was slain after seeing his son's band play at the Hive, a now-shuttered club at 1109 Lincoln. And other fatal violence has taken place within mere blocks over the past few years.

Here are three examples, listed in chronological order and linked to our previous coverage.

• In September 2011, 24-year-old Marquez Jones was shot to death at Eighth and Lincoln.

• In February 2015, Marlow Jenkins-Martin, 27, was killed at 11th and Broadway. A woman was also injured in the shooting.

• In May 2017, Brian Lucero was stabbed to death in the parking lot of Torchy's Tacos, at 11th and Broadway. The person arrested for the crime, Christian Gulzow, was a local death-metal musician.

click to enlarge Gabriel Roman suffered injuries to his back and hand. - FACEBOOK
Gabriel Roman suffered injuries to his back and hand.
Plenty of gay hate crimes have also taken place during this period. Take a September 2011 attack outside Sam's Hookah Lounge, at Alameda and Zuni, for which Jared Olson was arrested, and an October 2015 punching outside the X Bar, at 629 East Colfax, that led to the bust of Sean Boylan.

But a prominent bias-motivated crime also took place in the vicinity of Tenth and Broadway back in June 2015. In that instance, the target was a lesbian couple.

As noted in the DPD's report about the case, a woman said that she and her domestic partner were walking on Tenth when they approached a parking lot, at which point two black females in a gray Chevrolet "yelled at them to move out of the way."

A short time later, the two black females climbed out of their car and began punching and scratching the victims, the report maintains.

click to enlarge Dylan Payne is being held on suspicion of aggravated assault. - DENVER POLICE DEPARTMENT
Dylan Payne is being held on suspicion of aggravated assault.
Denver Police Department
Name-calling accompanied the attack, the victim said.

The line she quoted: "Stupid lesbian bitches, move or I'll kick your ass."

Jhane Toney, 21, was subsequently arrested for the crime after one of the victims managed to take a photo of the car's license plate with her phone.

As for the latest offense, Payne is being investigated for aggravated assault — but given the facts of the case as recorded by the Denver Police Department, prosecutors with the Denver District Attorney's Office are also likely to charge him with a bias-motivated crime. 
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts