Innocent Bystander Terrance Wardlow Killed in 21st and Lawrence Shooting

Denver police investigators interviewing witnesses after the November 19 shooting.
Denver police investigators interviewing witnesses after the November 19 shooting. Denver7 via YouTube
The headline from one of our previous posts about the November 19 shooting in the Ballpark neighborhood asked if innocent bystanders might have been among those struck.

Turns out the answer is yes. The Denver coroner's office has now identified the man killed in an exchange of gunfire among alleged gang members as 59-year-old Terrance Wardlow, a former Marine.

Four other men were injured in the shooting. Until now, the only one who'd been publicly identified was Dashae Armstrong, who was arrested. The police report issued in the wake of the crime says Armstrong is a member of the Tre Deuce Crips.

Also busted was Joshua Hayward, said to be part of a rival set, the Tre Tre Crips.

An overhead look at the 21st and Lawrence intersection.
Denver7 via YouTube
As for the other three shooting victims, speculation is rife that they have no gang affiliation and were simply caught in the crossfire between Armstrong and Hayward. The area where the shooting took place is heavily populated by people experiencing homelessness in the late afternoon; in the evening, it turns into a major entertainment district.

The arrest affidavit in the case notes that Denver police officers responded to multiple reports of a shooting near the intersection of 21st and Lawrence streets at 4:04 p.m. on November 19.

They soon found five victims suffering from gunshot wounds on the 1200 block of 21st Street, including Wardlow, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Witnesses said Armstrong, who took a bullet to the leg, had been shooting at another man who fled the scene. Denver police believe the person in question was Hayward, who was subsequently taken into custody.

click to enlarge
Joshua Hayward's booking photo.
Denver District Attorney's Office
Armstrong's criminal record dates back to 2007, and he was convicted of separate drug-related offenses in 2013 and 2014. He's currently facing federal gun charges that could net him up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

For his part, Hayward has now been formally charged with a slew of charges by the Denver District Attorney's office: one count of first-degree murder after deliberation, one count of first-degree murder with extreme indifference, eight counts of a criminal attempt to commit first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault, twelve counts of weapon possession by a previous offender, and two crime-of-violence counts included as a sentencing enhancer.

After the shooting, observers wondered if patrons would shy away from visiting the area, which includes El Charrito, a venerable restaurant slated to close on December 23.

But one Westworder who parked by the scene of the crime last week and walked up the 2100 block of Larimer found the area to be as busy as ever, despite the violent death of a man who appears to have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This post has been updated to reflect charges against Joshua Hayward filed by the Denver District Attorney's office.
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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