Update: On March 6, the family of 21-year-old Zachary Gonzales will be gathering for the sort of event they probably never could have imagined just a week ago -- his memorial service, followed by a funeral the next day.
Gonzales was killed on February 28. But while his loved ones grieve over his loss, they at least know that an arrest has been made in the case. Lakewood police believe Darren Bingham, 32, is responsible for the crime. Details and our original coverage below.
Gonzales was shot and killed outside an apartment building near the intersection of 12th Avenue and Yarrow Street. Afterward, witnesses reported seeing a black Dodge Durango in the area, prompting members of the Lakewood Police Department to put out an alert on the vehicle -- which turned out to have been stolen several days earlier.
Around five hours later, Denver police officers spotted the Durango in question, but it took off, precipitating a car chase that crossed over into Englewood before reaching a logical conclusion -- its three passengers in handcuffs.
Before long, however, two members of this trio were released, with only Bingham remaining in custody thanks to what are described as "two unrelated warrants." That gave detectives all the time they needed to continue their investigation, and in the end, the cops decided they had their man.
At present, Bingham is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder, aggravated motor vehicle theft and vehicular eluding -- and LPD types think more charges may be added before everything is said and done.
What led to the killing in the first place? Officers characterize it as "some type of dispute."
If this disagreement had been resolved some other way, the Gonzales family might not be laying Zach to rest. A sample comment from his obituary page: "May God bless your family at this time of your loss. And may He comfort those who mourn. We only knew him for a moment in time. But he will forever be on our minds and in our hearts."
Here's a larger look at Bingham's booking photo, followed by our initial post on this incident.
Continue for our previous coverage, including a video. Original post, 11:25 a.m. March 1: We still don't know the identities of three men taken into custody after a murder in Lakewood yesterday morning. But we have a name for the victim: Zachary David Gonzales, 21.
What happened? Here's the latest info about a crime that disrupted life in the metro area not once but twice -- first because of the shooting, and later due to a car chase.
At around 9:45 a.m., according to the Lakewood Police Department, officers responded to the 1200 block of Yarrow Street after being alerted to zinging bullets. Upon their arrival, they found Gonzales lying in the parking lot of an apartment building at the location. He was still alive, but shortly after being transported to a local hospital, he was pronounced dead.
During the investigation, witnesses mentioned seeing a black Dodge Durango in the vicinity, prompting a BOLO -- and Denver cops on the lookout for a vehicle fitting that description noticed one around 3 p.m. But their attempts to stop it prompted the Durango to rabbit.
The pursuit ended at the 2800 block of Shoshone Street in yet another community, Englewood, and three men were fitted with attachable metal bracelets. Further details are being withheld due to the ongoing investigation. Those with information about what happened are encouraged to phone the LPD at 303-987-7111.
Look below to see a 7News report about the crime, followed by an interactive graphic showing the area near where Gonzales died; it's not far from the Jefferson County Open School. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."
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More from our Mile High Murders archive: "Martin Trusty busted for Santa Fe arts district murder, debate over area's safety (62)."