Editor's note: After the publication of this post, Westword learned about the death by gun of a woman not cited by the Gun Memorial website described below: 61-year-old Julie Isaacson of Morrison. Isaacson's slaying fits the terrible pattern outlined here, in that she was allegedly killed by Jerold Cross, with whom she shared a home. Cross is said to have told police responding to the shooting, "I did it." Continue for our original coverage.
During last week's two-night Democratic presidential-candidates debate in Miami, one of the most frequent topics raised by the twenty (count 'em, twenty) hopefuls, including Coloradans John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet, was gun violence, in part because of the venue's proximity to Parkland, Florida, where seventeen people were killed in a February 2018 school shooting.
For the most part, the calls for policies that would enhance gun safety were general rather than specific. But Colorado data suggests that the abuse of firearms is overwhelmingly associated with males, and all too often, their victims are women. Of the 21 women who died by gun in the state over the past twelve months, the alleged shooter was a man in every instance for which law enforcement identified a suspect.
Moreover, the vast majority of incidents fall under the umbrella of domestic violence. Such episodes typically found men killing women they presumably loved, after which a considerable number of them took their own lives.
Our source is Gun Memorial, a website we highlighted last year. The project offers an online place to salute, celebrate, remember and mourn every single person in the state who dies by firearm, no matter the circumstances. Included are photos, links and places for family and friends to post details about individuals whose lives ended so suddenly. Each item stands as a unique tribute, as well as a single image in a larger mosaic that illustrates how much pain, bloodshed and heartache involving firearms takes place on an all-too-frequent basis in the fifty united states, including ours.
Of the 21 Colorado female shooting victims profiled by Gun Memorial from July 1, 2018, to the present, one — Rocky Ford's Wendy Schneider — is said to have been shot to death by accident. In a January news release, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation identified the shooter as a family member, without reference to gender, and since then, no one has been arrested or criminally charged.
The other twenty cases are much less ambiguous.
An aside: In national polls, more women than men tend to support gun control. That makes sense given incidents like one involving a pregnant Alabama shooting victim indicted in the death of her fetus, with no charges against the person who pulled the trigger, as well as data like that shared below. The following summaries, supplemented by links to the aforementioned site, offer evidence aplenty that ending the scourge of gun violence must begin with men.
Number 1: Michelle Peters, 41
Lost to gun violence on July 13, 2018, in Colorado Springs
Mark Peters, ex-husband of Michelle, was arrested for her murder. An affidavit states that he disguised himself as a woman in order to gain entrance to her home. When she opened her door, he opened fire.
Number 2: Nicole Boston, 28
Lost to gun violence on August 9, 2018, in Denver
Boston was a central figure in a September Westword feature article that detailed a triple murder that also killed Christopher Zamudio and Jerome Coronado near the RTD train and bus hub beneath the I-25 and South Broadway overpass. Maurice Butler has been charged in the slayings.
Number 3: Brenda Martinez, 27
Lost to gun violence on August 11, 2018, in Thornton
Martinez was shot to death at a Thornton bar, allegedly by a patron, Gary Wideman. Prosecutors believe Wideman was kicked out of the bar only to return with a gun he used to kill Martinez and injure several others.
Number 4: Briseidy Jimenez-Ortega, 20
Lost to gun violence on September 7, 2018, in Denver
Elijah Lucero, nineteen, has been accused of killing Jimenez-Ortega, but it's unclear whether she was his intended target. He had reportedly threatened his girlfriend with a gun earlier on the 7th, and she was with Jimenez-Ortega at the time of the fatal shooting.
Number 5: Danielle Harding, 32
Lost to gun violence on September 20, 2018, in Brighton
A GoFundMe page for Harding reads in part: "Danielle Harding was brutally murdered by the father of her child. We later found out that he committed suicide afterwards, leaving her family with serious heartbreak and sadness, as well as leaving her baby girl without a mother, nor a father."
Number 6: Courtney Jackson, 42
Lost to gun violence on October 9, 2018, in Colorado Springs
Thomas Jackson, Courtney's husband, was originally arrested in her death, but this past January, charges were abruptly dropped. Prosecutors offered no explanation for this decision other than to say the investigation was continuing — but the relationship was apparently volatile. Police are said to have visited the home three times in the months prior to the shooting in regard to alleged domestic violence and a pair of welfare checks.
Number 7: Cymone Duran, 28
Lost to gun violence on November 4, 2018, in Golden
Duran's body was found burning near a dumpster. Only after the blaze was extinguished did authorities discover that she'd been shot several times. The next week, three men — Abel Gallegos, Alonso Quintana and Rene Rosales — were arrested in relation to the crime. The arrest affidavits were sealed, so the relationship between Duran and the men, if any, is unknown.
Number 8: Ticoa Floyd-Brown, 43
Lost to gun violence on December 15, 2018, in Denver
Randy Bourgeois, 52, was arrested in the fatal shooting of Floyd-Brown. He has been formally charged with first-degree murder and possession of a weapon by a previous offender. The Denver District Attorney's office notes that he is next scheduled in court on July 26.
Number 9: Amy Garcia, 41
Lost to gun violence on December 20, 2018, in Huerfano County
Heith Gleason, Garcia's boyfriend, was arrested for her slaying, and reports suggested that his twelve-year-old son may have had some involvement. In June, Gleason was sentenced to 42 years behind bars.
Number 10: Wendy Schneider, 49
Lost on December 22, 2018, in Rocky Ford
As noted above, Schneider was killed during an apparently accidental shooting by a family member for which no one has been arrested or charged.
Number 11: Amanda Yellico, 40
Lost to gun violence on December 23, 2018, in Florence
Thomas Addington has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree assault in Yellico's death, and he reportedly has a "Make My Day" hearing set for later this month. Yellico was living with Addington at the time of the incident, but prosecutors say he'd expressed his desire for her to leave around the time he fired his gun from the basement through a door, killing her.
Number 12: Janice Brown, 58
Lost to gun violence on January 5, 2019, in Collbran
Adam Boggie was pulled over on Interstate 70 and arrested several hours after Brown's death; she'd been shot in the head. A knowledgeable source tells us he was her neighbor.
Number 13: Teresa Bagwell, 58
Lost to gun violence on February 6, 2019, in Littleton
Bruce Bagwell, Teresa's husband, was formally charged with her murder even though he claimed she wanted to die because of a terminal cancer diagnosis.
Number 14: Kate McDowell, 40
Lost to gun violence on February 18, 2019, in Broomfield
McDowell was shotgunned by her husband, Thad, who then turned the weapon on himself.
Number 15: Gloria Casias, 63
Lost to gun violence on March 10, 2019, in Ignacio
Casias was an advocate against domestic violence, yet she wound up dying in a murder-suicide committed by her boyfriend.
Number 16: Amy Elizabeth Shrieves, 21
Lost to gun violence on April 4, 2019, in Colorado Springs
Much like Bruce Bagwell, mentioned above, Joshua Thomsen, twenty, insisted that he had killed Shrieves at her request. He was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder anyway.
Number 17: Jacquelyn Coleman, 19
Lost to gun violence on May 14, 2019, in Rocky Ford
Coleman and Texan Robert Gaus, 23, had been living together for several months when he killed her and then himself.
Christina, Althea and Joseph McDaniels, a daughter, mother and father, are believed to have been killed by Bustaman Kartabrata, who was married to the girl's grandmother.
Number 20: Mary Schaefer, 42
Lost to gun violence on June 3, 2019, in Flagler
Michael Crowe was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder in Schafer's death. His connection to the victim, if any, is unclear.
Number 21: Victoria Ocheretinsky, 74
Lost to gun violence on June 22, 2019, in Colorado Springs
Victoria was killed by her 72-year-old brother, Yuzef, at the Springs's UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central, where she was a patient. Afterward, he took his own life.
This post has been updated to include information about charges and a future court appearance by Randy Bourgeois.
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