Another Fatal Shooting on Denver's Most Dangerous Downtown Block

Police at the scene of the crime.
Police at the scene of the crime. Courtesy of Denver7
On August 22, another downtown Denver shooting resulted in the death of one person, an adult male, and injuries to five others. And the location was all too familiar: the intersection of 19th and Blake streets, at the edge of a block that's become one of the most dangerous stretches in all of Denver.

The initial tweet about the incident from the Denver Police Department went out at 2:15 a.m. on August 22: "Officers are investigating a shooting near 19th/Blake St. 2 victims have been transported to a local hospital with serious injuries. The victim's condition is unknown, investigation is ongoing. Updates will be posted as information comes available."

This last promise was fulfilled at 5:39 p.m., when the DPD revealed that "a total of 6 individuals were injured by gunfire. 1 of those victims, an adult male, died from his injuries. 3 individuals suffered minor injuries and 2 others suffered non-life-threatening injuries. No arrests have been made."

Thus far, neither the name of the man who died nor those of the injured parties have been made public, and the only additional information that's emerged is a Denver7 report that suspects also shot at police before making their getaway.

This summer has been particularly bloody in Denver, with the number of crimes involving gun-related offenses escalating in August: Fourteen people were shot and two died in eight separate incidents over the first full weekend of August alone. Then, on August 17, a crime spree that went from East Colfax Avenue to West Colfax Avenue left one person in critical condition and ended the life of seminary student Shmuel Silverberg; four suspects were subsequently taken into custody, while a manhunt for a fifth, Samuel Fussell, continues.

Although violent crimes have taken place in many places across the city, downtown has been a nexus for such activity; note that a DPD tweet from 3:10 a.m. today, August 23, reveals that officers responded to a report of a shooting on the 2400 block of California. The victim is expected to survive; a suspect is in custody.

But a one-mile section of Blake Street, stretching from the 1400 block to the 2400 block, has been hit particularly hard. The DPD's online crime map pinpoints two homicides and 22 aggravated assaults in this area through August 8. Of the latter, eleven aggravated assaults happened on the 1900 block, most during the wee hours near the let-out period, when bar crowds move into the streets.

The DPD has been upping its presence in this area. Earlier this month, in response to questions about crimes along Blake Street, a spokesperson said that the department "is constantly evaluating ways to enhance safety in areas that have seen an increase in crime — especially violent crime. DPD will increase patrols in the areas and timeframes in which these crimes have occurred and work to identify any contributing factors that can also be addressed."

Given the frequency with which crimes are being committed on the 1900 block of Blake, the department should consider opening up a new substation there.

Anyone with information about yesterday's fatal shooting 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