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Emergency responders outside the STEM School Highlands Ranch in May.
Emergency responders outside the STEM School Highlands Ranch in May.
9News via YouTube

Inside Colorado's 24 Mass Shootings During the Last Six Years

The weekend shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, with a combined death toll that has now reached 31, continue to dominate conversations nationally and locally. But focusing on these two incidents, as horrific as they are, tends to distract from the frequency with which shootings that injure or kill multiple people take place across the United States, including in Colorado, and the way so many of them either earn little attention or are quickly forgotten because of how commonplace they've become.

A case in point: According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 24 mass shootings in Colorado, nine of them in Denver, during the past six years, and the majority are likely to be unfamiliar to the average person. All of them are listed below, complete with links to additional archive information and previous Westword coverage.

GVA identifies a mass shooting as any incident in which at least four people are injured or killed, and like another major data compiler, Mass Shooting Tracker, it places no restrictions on such episodes. But other organizations define the term differently, as noted in a 2018 RAND Corporation report. For instance, Mother Jones counts only so-called "indiscriminate" incidents with three or more fatalities other than the shooter and excludes crimes of armed robbery, gang violence or domestic violence. Likewise, Stanford University's Mass Shootings in America database skips shootings related to gangs, drugs or organized crime, but requires just three fatal or nonfatal injuries aside from the shooter.

But those who get hung up on these distinctions are at risk of missing the larger point about the frequency of multi-victim shootings — one underscored by the two dozen items below, which run from June 2013 to June 2019

Most people will be familiar with at least three of the shootings: the November 2015 assault on a Planned Parenthood office in Colorado Springs, the lethal SWAT team raid in Douglas County on New Year's Eve 2017, and the shooting at the STEM School Highlands Ranch this past May. But that leaves 21 other incidents — one in which a popular rapper was killed, another that saw four people gunned down outside a high-brow bash at a trendy dance club, and a broad-daylight frenzy in the Ballpark neighborhood that took the life of an innocent bystander. And that's not to mention a triple homicide in a tiny Colorado town that got virtually no media coverage in Denver.

It doesn't take a math genius to realize that 24 mass shootings in Colorado over six years breaks down to four per annum, or one every three months.

The 2300 block of Paris Street in Aurora.
The 2300 block of Paris Street in Aurora.
Google Maps

1. June 30, 2013
Aurora
2300 block of Paris Street
Injured: 4
Killed: 0

Three juveniles were shot by a small-caliber weapon at a house party, and a fourth was grazed by a bullet. All four survived their injuries.

2. September 15, 2013
Colorado Springs
1609 South Nevada
Injured: 5
Killed: 0

Five people were wounded during a shootout at the Layalina Hookah bar in the Springs. None of the injuries was life-threatening.

3. May 4, 2014
Wheat Ridge
12100 W 44th
Injured: 4
Killed: 0

Four people were shot during an early-morning party at a hotel in Wheat Ridge. Most of the injuries were minor, although one person was transported to a hospital.

4. November 23, 2014
Denver
Federal Boulevard and 16th Avenue
Injured: 4
Killed: 1

Kevie Durham, better known to local hip-hop fans as KL Tha General, was killed during a shooting at The Beach, a nightclub near Mile High Stadium.

5. September 7, 2015
Denver
1909 Blake Street
Injured: 4
Killed: 0

Four people — three women and one man — were shot outside the heavily hyped Club Beta White Party. All survived.

6. November 7, 2015
Denver
Bayaud and Bannock
Injured: 3
Killed: 1

Cristian Martinez was slain and three others were wounded in a shooting at a house party in the Baker neighborhood for which Darius Ratcliff was arrested. Ratcliff was taken into custody after being wounded in an officer-involved shooting.

7. November 27, 2015
Colorado Springs
3480 Centennial Boulevard
Injured: 9
Killed: 3

Robert Dear was arrested after attacking a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado Springs. The following year, he was found incompetent to stand trial.

8. March 25, 2016
Denver
8501 East Alameda Avenue
Injured: 4
Killed: 0

A late-night shooting near the Lowry Park Apartments resulted in two people being shot and two others suffering grazes from gunfire. All four recovered from their injuries.

The 1400 block of 14th Street.
The 1400 block of 14th Street.
Google Maps

9. April 24, 2016
Denver
1400 block of 14th Street
Injured: 4
Killed: 0

Nghia Trong Tran was arrested after allegedly opening fire on a vehicle in Lower Downtown.

10. June 4, 2016
Denver
3600 block of Hudson Street
Injured: 1
Killed: 3

Devonne Burton was among the victims in a North Park Hill triple homicide sparked by a robbery gone wrong for which three men, including a former University of Colorado football player, were arrested.

11. August 7, 2016
Arvada
5400 block of Sheridan Boulevard
Injured: 2
Killed: 2

Brandon Karr was convicted of killing one person and injuring two others in a shooting at an Adams County mobile home park. Dustin Karr, Brandon's cousin, was also shot to death in the incident; a second man, Rojelio Heredia, was found guilty for that crime.

12. January 15, 2017
Capulin
County Road Y
Injured: 1
Killed: 3

Santos Nevares went to a birthday party outside Capulin, a town in Conejos County with a population of 200, and opened fire, injuring one person and killing three, including Guadalupe Cervantes, the guest of honor.

13. December 31, 2017
Highlands Ranch
3404 East County Line Road
Injured: 6
Killed: 2

Douglas County Deputy Zackari Parrish was killed during a lengthy standoff with suspect Matthew Riehl, who was shot to death by a SWAT team member after firing an estimated 100 bullets.

14. February 5, 2018
Colorado Springs
4225 Galley Road
Injured: 4
Killed: 2

Nineteen-year-old suspected car thief Manuel Zetina was being tracked by a police task force when violence erupted. When it was over, Zetina and El Paso Sheriff's Office Detective Micah Lee Flick were dead, and three law enforcers plus a bystander were hurt.

15. May 27, 2018
Aurora
15373 East 6th Avenue
Injured: 3
Killed: 1

Family man and coach Dejon Williams was reportedly trying to break up a fight outside the Kasbah nightclub when he was shot to death. The three other injured parties lived.

The Westminster complex where Vaughn Bigelow died in a road-rage incident.
The Westminster complex where Vaughn Bigelow died in a road-rage incident.
Denver7 via YouTube

16. June 14, 2018
Westminster
5150 West 80th Avenue
Injured: 3
Killed: 1

From the GoFundMe page for Vaughn Bigelow: "On June 14, 2018, Meghan Bigelow was taking her 3 children to a routine dentist appointment when she became a part of a road rage encounter. Meghan and 2 of her sons were shot multiple times. Sadly, her oldest son (13) passed away June 14."

17. July 15, 2018
Denver
50th Avenue and Grant Street
Injured: 4
Killed: 0

Four people were injured during a late-night party gone awry.

18. August 11, 2018
Thornton
4050 East 100th Avenue
Inured: 3
Killed: 1

Brenda Martinez was shot to death at a Thornton bar, allegedly by a patron, Gary Wideman. Prosecutors contended that Wideman was kicked out of the bar only to return with a gun he used to kill Martinez and injure several others.

19. August 31, 2018
Aurora
1900 block of Peoria Street
Injured: 3
Killed: 2

Anthoni Readus and Wayne Carter were killed after a domestic-violence incident that led to an officer-involved shooting.

20. November 19, 2018
Denver
1200 21st Street
Injured: 4
Killed: 1

Terrance Wardlow, a former Marine, was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time when guns started blazing in the Ballpark neighborhood. He died and four others were injured.

21. December 14, 2018
Colorado Springs
700 block of Geiger Court
Injured: 3
Killed: 1

The narrative from a GoFundMe page for the late Brandon Coffin begins: "On December 15th 2018, my two brothers were out having a good night when it took a turn for the worst. My parents and little sister received a phone call that they needed to get to the hospital because there was a shooting. Both of my brothers were shot and one didn't make it. My little brother was shot in his leg; it missed his groin and came out the back of his opposite leg."

22. March 10, 2019
Denver
15th Street and Market Street
Injured: 4
Killed: 1

The quintuple shooting early March 10 on the 1500 block of Market Street, which killed a man later identified as 25-year-old Vayron Garcia and wounded four others, was the third major firearms incident along the stretch in six months, and the second to end with a loss of life.

23. May 7, 2019
Highlands Ranch
8773 South Ridgeline Boulevard
Injured: 8
Killed: 1

STEM School Highlands Ranch student Kendrick Castillo was killed in a confrontation with one of two students who managed to sneak guns into the facility.

24. June 11, 2019
Aurora
12500 block of East Kansas Place
Injured: 4
Killed: 0

Three juveniles and an adult were shot after midnight outside an Aurora residence. The next day, the Aurora Police Department announced that a suspect had been arrested, but that individual still has not been identified at this writing.

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