How Harold Mortis Was ID'd for BossMan Goodie Killing That Closed Hip-Hop Club

Update: In October, Tyrone Adair Jr., best known to members of the local hip-hop community as BossMan Goodie, was shot to death outside Cold Crush, a venue that was temporarily closed as a public nuisance after the incident; see our previous coverage below.

Now, the Denver District Attorney's Office has announced that Harold Mortis, 27, has been charged with first-degree murder and possession of a weapon by a previous offender in the the case.

Thus far, no booking photo for Mortis, who was taken into custody on December 11, has been released. But according to his arrest affidavit, the bust followed a DNA-related investigation — the sort of inquiry closely associated with outgoing Denver DA Mitch Morrissey, as he described at length in an exit interview published yesterday.

The affidavit maintains that early on Monday, October 10, a fight preceded the shooting, with Adair helping a couple of security personnel to escort two men, including Mortis, outside. At that point, Mortis allegedly headed to his car, swaddled his head in a T-shirt and returned with a gun he used to kill Adair. 

Later, investigators found a baseball cap inside the club that witnesses tied to Mortis, and DNA confirmed that it was his. They also located .40 caliber ammo of the sort that was used in the shooting in Mortis's apartment. Mortis wasn't supposed to have a gun owing to a past conviction for aggravated robbery.

At this writing, Mortis remains in custody. He's being held without bond, and his court date has not yet been set.

Note that Cold Crush reopened on October 20 after negotiations with the City of Denver. Continue to read the Harold Mortis arrest affidavit, followed by our earlier report.

Harold Mortis Arrest Affidavit

Original post, 8:15 a.m. October 14: Yesterday, in our Food & Drink section, we reported that Cold Crush, a hip-hop-oriented venue at 2700 Larimer that we named Best New Bar of 2013, had been closed as a public nuisance by Denver police following the fatal shooting this past weekend of 29-year-old Tyrone Adair Jr., better known to members of the local music community as rapper BossMan Goodie. The venue lost its liquor license as well.

In addition, our music section published an interview with Cold Crush co-owner Brian Mathenge, who stressed that he was serious about security at the club; he used two police officers and five security guards, and searches were conducted inside and outside. He also noted that other local clubs have experienced shootings in the past without being shut down.

Likewise, commentators online have suggested that race was a factor in the quick Cold Crush shutdown.

The death of Adair, the focus of a GoFundMe page that has raised nearly $7,000 toward a $10,000 goal at this writing, is certainly a high-profile tragedy.

And Cold Crush has indeed seen violence in the past. In June 2014, for example, we wrote about a shooting at the club that injured three people, one critically, at around 2:30 a.m., during a period popularly known as let-out.

But as Mathenge correctly points out, let-out violence has taken place in an assortment of locations in lower downtown and the immediate vicinity, as witnessed by our recent list of six LoDo-area crimes, including gunfire at what has been described as the worst let-out parking lot in the city; it left one person dead and another injured.

Cold Crush, though, has been singled out for ire by people in its neighborhood. In a February Reverb piece, Mathenge revealed that "residents of the original club’s RiNo neighborhood location have been circulating a petition asking to have the establishment regulated more strictly than other bars on Larimer’s 2700 block."

The community heat was still on in May, when Musa Bailey, another Cold Crush co-owner, posted this on Facebook:
Dear Cold Crush haters, save your time and energy and just stop. It's not gonna work. The town has already decided. You are in the minority. Stop fronting and do like the young homies say and get on the WAVE. It's too late for anything else. #ThreeYearsYaBish
Mathenge echoed this message with one of his own:
Let's put out a petition to get Cold Crush shut down.... Because it's crackin too hard, and black and white people hang out together over there. WE DON'T LIKE THAT
As of this writing, Mathenge has not yet been given a hearing date in regard to Cold Crush's closure.

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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