How did relieving himself behind a dumpster lead to David Ludewig's death? This incident triggered a confrontation with a security guard, who opened fire after the 24-year-old Ludewig pointed a gun at him, presumably not realizing the weapon wasn't real.
We've got the tragic details below, along with photos and video.
About 1:25 a.m. on Saturday, August 2, according to the Westminster Police Department, officers responded to a reported shooting in the parking lot of the Sunset Ridge apartment complex, located at 8300 North Sheridan Boulevard.
Witnesses said a security guard shot a man on the property, and on-the-scene investigation bore out that account. Ludewig had been hit, and while he was rushed to a local hospital, he didn't survive his wounds.
The police version of events maintains that the thus-far-unnamed guard "was retreating and attempted to get behind cover after recognizing the individual had a weapon. The individual allegedly had a handgun, raised it, and pointed it at the security guard. The security guard fired his weapon, striking this individual."
A shot also impacted the apartment complex, as seen in this image from 7News:
Johnny Secrest, Ludewig's cousin, who was present at the time, subsequently shared his grief in multiple Facebook posts. The first reads:
David ludewig, RIP. my loving cousin n friend i love u n miss u. The actions of a over-zelous gun carrying security guard took u from us. It was my pleasure to live at ur side n to b holding u when u. Took ur final breath. I only wish it was me dear david. We carry u n our hearts. Until we meet again ur cousin johnny.
Why was the security guard "over-zealous"? Secrest tells 7News he and Ludewig had been out celebrating when his cousin decided to relieve himself behind a dumpster near their apartment. An instant later, a security guard shined a flashlight in their direction and announced that he was going to detain them for breaking the law.
Rather than go along with this plan, Ludewig reportedly strode to a nearby apartment and emerged with an Airsoft gun. Secrest quotes Ludewig as saying, "How would you like it if you had someone point a gun at you?" Shortly thereafter, the security guard opened fire.
Law enforcers have long complained about imitation weapons that look indistinguishable from the real thing. Last year, as you'll recall, the Denver Police Department created an online photo quiz that asked which guns were fake. The answer: all of them.
Airsoft guns appear to have been a passion of Ludewig's, as judged by a trio of images he shared on his own Facebook page. Here's one....
...and another.... ...and a third: In his 7News interview, Secrest conceded that Ludewig's decision to level an Airsoft gun at the security guard was a mistake.
In his words, "If anybody thinks about pulling out an Airsoft gun, it's not a real gun and it'll get you killed."
Understanding this error doesn't lessen Secrest's grief, especially under the circumstances. He reveals in another Facebook post that Ludewig was about to become a father. That item reads:
Benefit sept 25. Hermans hideaway multiple bands and artist. Come all friends of david n let us celebrate the life of david ludewig.all proceeds w benifit david and kirsteys unborn baby. Much love for all who have reached out to my family.
While no charges have been brought against the security guard to date, the WPD stresses that the investigation is continuing. In the meantime, our condolences to Ludewig's friends, family and loved ones.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Here's the aforementioned 7News report.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.