Crime

Gun Violence in Metro Denver Over Holiday Weekend

A Lakewood Police Department photo showing the scene on 6th Avenue near where a fatal shooting took place on June 19.
A Lakewood Police Department photo showing the scene on 6th Avenue near where a fatal shooting took place on June 19. Lakewood Police Department
Now that Juneteenth is officially a holiday, many people across metro Denver enjoyed an extra day off work this past weekend. But the extended period was also marked by gun violence, including three deaths between June 18 and June 20 — and two of them took place on major highways.

The first firearms-related bulletin from the Aurora Police Department was shared via Twitter on June 18. At 5:35 p.m. that day, according to an APD news release, a woman called 911 to report a shooting on eastbound Interstate 70 just west of the East Colfax Avenue exit. Officers responding to the scene quickly located a 2020 Dodge Ram pickup on the right shoulder of the highway. Inside was an adult male who'd been shot; he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Detectives believe that the man, who'd been traveling with a woman and three children, was the random victim of a shooting that may have been associated with a nearby street race that pitted a white sedan against a black sedan. The Adams County coroner has not yet released the victim's name, but on June 20, the volunteer fire department in the Colorado community of Glen Haven shared his identity: Assistant Chief John Jaros. (Click to access a GoFundMe page devoted to Jaros's memory and family support, and find out how to contribute to the Jaros Family Fund donation account here.)

Early the next morning, at 2:47 a.m. on June 19, the Denver Police Department tweeted about a shooting on the 1300 block of East 21st Avenue, in the City Park West neighborhood; the victim experienced injuries not considered life-threatening.

At 1:27 p.m. on June 19, a shooting had more lethal consequences. According to a release from the Lakewood Police Department, officers executed a traffic stop on West Sixth Avenue just east of the Wadsworth Boulevard exit around that time in response to reports of a road-rage incident. The vehicle turned out to have been stolen, and when law enforcement officials approached, the driver, later identified as eighteen-year-old Jesse James Brown, began yelling out the window while "concealing his hands." After attempts to persuade Brown to raise his hands and exit the vehicle voluntarily failed, LPD agents "deployed less-than-lethal pepper ball rounds."  A moment later, they heard gunshots from inside the vehicle and subsequently discovered that Brown had killed himself. The weapon he used was also described as stolen.

Just over ten hours later, at 11:28 p.m., the Aurora Police Department took to Twitter to note that an adult male had been shot on East Seventh Avenue between Potomac Street and Del Mark Parkway. At 12:42 a.m. on June 20, the APD confirmed that a suspect, 24-year-old Juan Serrano, had been taken into custody on suspicion of first-degree assault.

The Denver Police Department had more news to share at 6:26 a.m. on June 20. At first, the injuries sustained by an adult female shot in the area of 22nd and Arapahoe streets, in the Five Points neighborhood, were characterized as "unknown." But a 10:32 a.m. update acknowledged that the woman had died and the case was being investigated as a homicide.

Cut to 9:02 p.m. on June 20 — when the Aurora Police Department tweeted about a shooting close to where East Alameda Avenue crosses South Ironton Street. The victim, an adult male, is expected to survive his wounds.

Anyone with information about the shootings can contact Metro Denver 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