Crime

Denver's 2021 Summer of Violence Isn't Over Yet

The intersection of 15th and Market is among recent Denver crime locations.
The intersection of 15th and Market is among recent Denver crime locations. Google Maps
Today, September 7, the Isabella Joy Thallas Act, named for the victim of a June 2020 shooting involving a cop's missing AK-47, goes into effect; it requires a Colorado resident who believes that a firearm has been lost or stolen to report it to authorities within five days. The new law was one of six gun-violence measures passed by the Colorado General Assembly during the 2021 legislative session in an effort to curb gun violence — yet the extended Labor Day weekend saw more shootings, as well as stabbings and assaults, during what has become one of Denver's most violent summers in years.

News of the highest-profile event started with a tweet at 8:57 p.m. on September 3 from the Denver Police Department about an officer-involved shooting involving the Westminster Police Department on the 5300 block of Billings, in a northeastern section of the Mile High City. The next day, the DPD offered more details, revealing that officers from the WPD had been conducting a surveillance operation in the area with the aim of nabbing an adult male wanted for attempted murder. When the suspect left the home, the Westminster cops attempted to swoop in, and when the man allegedly responded by opening fire, they shot back. The man later died of his injuries.

More criminal incidents kept the DPD's Twitter account busy in the days that followed.

At 3:41 p.m. on September 4, the department revealed a stabbing in the area of East 20th Avenue and Glenarm Place; one victim was transported to an area hospital with what were described as serious injuries.


Then, during the early hours of September 6, there was a shooting in the vicinity of East Martin Luther King Boulevard and Syracuse Street; the victim sustained injuries not believed to be life-threatening; no suspect information was released.

Meanwhile, there were several incidents in the Union Station neighborhood that has been the nexus of violence downtown over recent months. The Denver Crime Map lists four aggravated assaults, defined as assaults causing serious bodily injury, in the area between September 3 and September 5, the most recent date for which information is available.

Although none of the assaults took place on Blake Street, where a rash of attacks have taken place in recent months — particularly the 1900 block near Beta Nightclub, which faces an upcoming license-revocation hearing — several were just a block away. Here are the four aggravated assault locations and times for police response:
1500 Block of 20th Street
11:46 p.m. September 3

19th Street and Little Raven Street
2:05 a.m. September 4

15th Street and Market Street
2:15 p.m. September 4

16th Street and Lawrence Street
6:45 p.m. September 5
And the summer isn't over. Although the incident hasn't made the map yet, at 12:38 a.m. on September 6, the DPD tweeted about a stabbing on the 2000 block of Market Street, just a block from Blake. The victim's injuries were not life-threatening, according to the DPD; no suspect information was released.

Anyone with information about these crimes can contact Denver Metro Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867).
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts