Denver's Office of the Medical Examiner has identified the juvenile killed on Saturday, July 11, on the 4500 block of Atchison Way as seventeen-year-old Davarie Armstrong. According to the coroner's office, "The manner of death is homicide."
This six-word phrase has been used frequently by the medical examiner in recent days. Eight homicides took place in the Mile High City between July 1 and July 8, and most of the victims were people of color whose passings were quickly transformed from tragedies to statistics. Armstrong, who had been attending a house party, was the ninth victim, as well as the third black juvenile (fourteen-year-old Xzavier Collier and fifteen-year-old Moses Chaney Harris were slain on July 8) and the fourth black teen (nineteen-year-old Tayvion Washington was killed on July 6) to die by violent means in six days.
The enormity of the loss for those who knew and loved Armstrong is summarized in the introduction to a GoFundMe page created in the wake his death.
"Davarie Armstrong was an amazing young man who in one of his teacher's words 'didn't have to speak to light up a room,'" it notes. "He was a devoted and loving son, amazing teammate and a huge part of South HS."
Armstrong was a multi-sport athlete at Denver's South High School, participating in football, basketball and track and field. His page on the Max Sports website is jam-packed with videos of his assorted gridiron achievements, including clips from 2019 games against Gateway, Ponderosa, Heritage and Aurora Central. He was about to start his senior year, and reportedly had recently toured campuses at a number of historically black colleges.
Instead of getting a chance to plan for a bright future, Armstrong has become another immeasurable loss for the community, as Mayor Michael Hancock made clear in a recent tweet. "I'm heartbroken to hear about the loss of another young person in our community to gun violence," Hancock wrote on July 12, prior to the identification of Armstrong as the latest victim. "This is personal, not just for the families overcome by grief, but for every one of us who calls Denver home, because we are failing our young people when they need us the most."
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Denver homicides are currently running at a pace more than 40 percent above the same period in 2019, and many of those who've died from firearms (either by homicide or other means) in the city during the year to date have been young. The National Gun Violence Memorial includes these names, as well as links to tribute pages:
In addition to being young, most of these victims were people of color, just like Armstrong, Collier, Harris, Washington and so many others before them. And 2020 is barely half over.
If you have any information about the Davarie Armstrong homicide, contact Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867.