Gun Culture

Colorado Gun Deaths Reach 100 in Record Time: See the Victims Here

Clockwise from upper left: Jessica Vernon, Shmuel Silverberg, Jose Ibarra, Officer Gordon Beesley, Neomi Tafoya and David Hill Lovelace died by gun in 2021.
Clockwise from upper left: Jessica Vernon, Shmuel Silverberg, Jose Ibarra, Officer Gordon Beesley, Neomi Tafoya and David Hill Lovelace died by gun in 2021. gunmemorial.org
Gun violence in Colorado has already claimed more than 100 lives in 2021. According to the Gun Memorial website, which offers a space to remember victims in this state and across the country as "Real people, not just statistics," through August 19 at least 103 people were killed by a firearm in Colorado, the most by far for the first eight months of a year since the site's birth in 2015.

And there's no indication the bloodshed will stop anytime soon. Those 103 deaths don't include the thus-far-unidentified person killed in an August 22 shooting at 19th and Blake streets.  Also not yet listed is a man shot to death at a house party in Pueblo on August 21.

In 2018, Westword profiled Gun Memorial, which had been launched three years earlier by Steve Tarzia, a software engineer based in Chicago. Early on, he decided to include information about every gun death in the country, including homicides, tragic accidents and suicide. "The statistics are quite clear that suicides are much more effective — you're much more likely to die — if you have a gun," he said. "Shots to the head are 98 percent fatal, whereas if you try to overdose, there may only be a 5 or 10 percent chance that you'll kill yourself. And suicidal thoughts are often temporary and may be related to events. To get a second chance may often mean the difference between life and death, but there aren't many second chances with guns."

Of course, not every suicide by gun is publicly disclosed. And the Colorado page of the Gun Memorial site underscores the sad reality that most other firearm deaths receive only modest and frequently cursory media attention.


There are obvious exceptions, including the mass shooting at a Boulder King Soopers that claimed ten lives, the death of Arvada Police Officer Gordon Beesley and the slaying of seminary student Shmuel Silverberg. But the press based outside of Colorado paid only passing notice to a May 10 attack at a birthday party in Colorado Springs that killed six people, perhaps because the victims were people of color, like all too many of those whose faces are highlighted on the Colorado portion of the Gun Memorial site.

To put the death count in perspective, here are the number of Colorado victims calculated by Gun Memorial during the same period for each year since its creation:

2015 through August 19: 50
2016 through August 19: 55
2017 through August 19: 85
2018 through August 19: 73
2019 through August 19: 74
2020 through August 19: 89

The names of the 103 Colorado victims through August 19, 2021, are listed below in descending chronological order, along with links to their Gun Memorial pages. There, visitors will be able to connect to (frequently brief) news articles about what happened, light virtual candles in memory of victims and read the comments of friends, family members and loved ones, as well as leave remarks of their own.
click to enlarge Clockwise from upper left: Seteria Nicole Black, Isaac Garcia, Andy Billinger, David Lara, Sarah Terry and Gary McLaughlin all have pages on the Gun Memorial website. - GUNMEMORIAL.ORG
Clockwise from upper left: Seteria Nicole Black, Isaac Garcia, Andy Billinger, David Lara, Sarah Terry and Gary McLaughlin all have pages on the Gun Memorial website.
Mack James Glover
August 19


Shmuel Silverberg
August 18

Valerie Munoz-Infante
August 16

Darrian Butler
August 11

Gregory Hopkins
August 6

Johnny Quintana
August 4

Julian Richard Evangelista-Short
August 4

Andrewlee Ervin
August 3

Hermilo Garcia-Saucedo
July 31

Sarah Terry Smith
July 30

Elwood Johnson
July 24

Neomi Tafoya
July 24

Tayrn Nicole Meyer
July 24

Aniyus Contreras Mason
July 23

Robert Matthew Froemke
July 19

Dontrè Daizon Timothy "Tre" Williams
July 18

Roque Marquez
July 18

Eric Richard Allen
June 30

Andy Billinger
June 29

Nubia Rodriguez
June 28

Seteria Nicole Black
June 28

Jessica Vernon
June 26

John M. "Johnny" Hurley
June 21

Officer Gordon D. Beesley
June 21

Deborah Ann "Deb" Avery
June 20

Renys Arias
June 20

Gwendolyn Watson
June 17

Duane Edward Manzanares, Jr.
June 13

Antonio Hernandez Posoz
June 8

Gary McLaughlin
May 28

Melissa Ann Wright
May 28

Bernice L. Bright
May 20

Joseph Barela
May 17

Ernesto Apodaca III
May 14

Joana Cruz
May 9

Jose Gutierrez
May 9

Jose Ibarra
May 9

Mayra Ibarra de Perez
May 9

Melvin Perez
May 9

Sandra Cecilia Ibarra
May 9

Carl L. Kern IV
May 7

Josiah John Naol Salas
May 1

Mariceo "Marz" Negrete
May 1

Quatrel Weeden
April 25

Isaac Garcia
April 18

John Arthur Mall
Aprli 17
Clockwise from upper left: Other lives lost in early 2021 include Paul Baca, Preston Brown Jr., Suni Marie Grooms, Ricardo Medina-Rojas, Marcos Bencomo and Yzeed Sayyaheen. - GUNMEMORIAL.ORG
Clockwise from upper left: Other lives lost in early 2021 include Paul Baca, Preston Brown Jr., Suni Marie Grooms, Ricardo Medina-Rojas, Marcos Bencomo and Yzeed Sayyaheen.
David Dawson
April 9

Page Pierce Schmidt
April 9

David Lucio Tafoya
April 4

David Lara
April 1

De'Angelo Tafoya
April 1

Juan Antonio "El Tio" Murillo Alvarado
March 28

Denny Vaugn Stong
March 22

Jody A. Waters
March 22

Kevin Daniel Mahoney
March 22

Lynn Murray
March 22

Neven Stanisic
March 22

Officer Eric Huston Talley
March 22

Rikki Lyn Olds
March 22

Suzanne Leslie Fountain
March 22

Teri Lee Leiker
March 22

Tralona Lynn "Lonna" Bartkowiak
March 22

Vincent Brown
March 21

Jeffrey Medina
March 20

David Hill Lovelace
March 11

Lee Michael Fowler
March 8

Jesus Patron Espericueta
March 6

Sarah Larocca
March 2
Clockwise from upper left: Leah Carlene Knowlton, Joseph Viera, John Richard Roth, Sylvio Anglada, Tashianna Blake and Nathan A-Kol Bright all died by gun this year. - GUNMEMORIAL.ORG
Clockwise from upper left: Leah Carlene Knowlton, Joseph Viera, John Richard Roth, Sylvio Anglada, Tashianna Blake and Nathan A-Kol Bright all died by gun this year.
Margie Crowe
February 27

Roxann Martinez
February 25

Nathan A-Kol Bright
February 22

Tad Trefethen
February 21

Thomas James Rushing
February 21

Jared Augustine Martinez
February 20

Pamela Cabriales
February 20

Tashianna Blake
February 20

Cesar Alberto Rodriguez
February 10

Shumma Agar
February 10

James Anthony Martinez
February 8

Yzeed Sayyaheen
February 6

John Richard Roth
February 5

Christopher Patrick Lopez
February 3

Daniel Dacy
February 3

Dustyn James
February 3

Joseph Viera
February 3

Pheonix Vigil
February 3

Ricardo Medina-Rojas
February 3

Sylvio Anglada
February 3

Ronald Harman
January 31

Brian Connelly
January 30

Lewis Nicholas Garcia
January 27

Geronimo Alvarado
January 26

La'Zic Lavell "Zay" Abraham
January 26

Chase Carter Martinez
January 23

Jameson Martinez
January 23

Paul Baca
January 22

Preston Brown Jr.
January 22

Marcos Bencomo
January 21

Leah Carlene Knowlton
January 20

Imanol Del Valle
January 17

Atlas Roe Grooms
January 13

Suni Marie Grooms
January 13
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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