Inside Wild Shooting That Caused Five Points Evacuations but Media Missed

A booking photo of David Henry.
A booking photo of David Henry. Denver Police Department
On Friday, December 6, a wild shooting took place in the booming Five Points area, leading to evacuations, temporary street closures, the dispatch of a SWAT team and negotiations that dragged on for hours before the suspect, 34-year-old David Henry, was finally taken into custody — and yet it's gone unreported.

Until now, the main source of information about what happened was a December 7 Facebook post from a resident of the building where the shooting took place. He began his account with this: "So since the news won’t report it, I will," and wound it down with these words: "In short, FUCK 9NEWS, FOX31 NEWS, CHANNEL 2 NEWS, and 7NEWS, who all feel that real estate pricing and local businesses take precedent over your safety."

No one was physically hurt in the incident, which may have lessened the interest of TV stations in what went down. But this incident occurred only a handful of blocks from another recent shooting that got plenty of coverage: Early in the afternoon of Saturday, November 23, at least nine shots were fired from a parking garage at 27th and Blake streets, another busy area in RiNo; 39-year-old Bryan Lambert was quickly taken into custody.

And Henry's actions and the response to them certainly caused major disruptions on a congested holiday night (the Parade of Lights was about to start) in a rapidly growing part of downtown — and it's not as if the Denver Police Department tried to keep them secret. At 6:15 p.m. on December 6, the DPD tweeted: "#DPD Officers in the area of 2300 N. Broadway on a shots fired call. Road closures while this is being investigated. No injuries have been reported at this time. Updates to follow." That was followed at 10:53 p.m., more than four hours later, with a message reading, "The situation has been resolved and a person was taken in to custody. Any road closures should be open soon."

In Henry's probable-cause statement (below), significant portions of the document are blotted out. But the narrative provides the basics about what happened.

After 6 p.m. on Friday, December 6, according to the DPD report, officers were dispatched to the ninth floor of an apartment complex at 2330 Broadway after multiple callers to DPD dispatch said that a man "was going up and down the hall threatening that he was going to kill people...slamming the doors over and over. He was described as a black male, thirties, five-nine and thin."

click to enlarge A screen capture depicting a collage of images from the shooting scene. - FACEBOOK
A screen capture depicting a collage of images from the shooting scene.
No one matching this description was in the hallway when the cops arrived, the statement continues, so an officer knocked on the door and identified himself as "Denver police." Henry yelled in response, and while the content of his remarks has been excised from the document, he could be heard "barricading furniture against the front door. Then we heard several gunshots from inside his apartment (estimated five shots). We were able to back up to the ends of the hall," at which point Metro SWAT was notified.

The SWAT team took over the scene and conducted negotiations that didn't conclude until 11:28 p.m., around a half-hour after the time stamp on the second DPD tweet about the incident. Denver Police Technician Jay Casillas, corresponding via email, says that Henry was taken into custody on suspicion of "unlawful discharge of a firearm." He confirms that "officers evacuated areas of the building that would pose a risk to people inside there. Once the situation was resolved and it was deemed safe to go in, people were allowed to get back in. Roads around the area were also blocked off for safety."

In his Facebook post, the building resident paints a more detailed portrait of the events (and includes photos). He maintains that the suspect was "armed to the teeth [and] began shooting out his living room window, which caused Broadway and several other streets to be closed and the building on lockdown. Nobody in or out. I estimate at least FIFTY police officers as well as SWAT with snipers on the rooftops of adjacent buildings. The good news is that nobody was shot or killed and the gunman was taken into custody by being overcome by teargas."

Thus far, that Facebook post has attracted more than 800 comments, with many of them remarking on the absence of information from news organizations. "I am from Denver and I can tell you this is not a normal occurrence. Gun violence is not that high. Especially on Broadway," one person commented. But in reply, another noted,"I don’t know about 'normal,' but over the past few years there have been increasingly more shootings and decreased coverage. Gang violence years back got tons of press."

"Dude, my neighbor texted me that night about an active shooter, but I didn't see anything about it on the news. SMH," a different commenter said. And another individual thanked the original Facebooker for sharing what he knew: "I was stuck down there in all that mess and have been trying to find out what was going on, since everyone was so hush hush."

Click to read the David Henry probable-cause statement.
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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