Is Steven Perez, fatal stabbing victim, North Side Mafia gang member "Sly Dog"? (26)

The Denver coroner has ID'd the man stabbed to death late Sunday afternoon as Steven Perez, 38.

Additionally, a published report says Perez was a member of the North Side Mafia, the venerable Denver street gang at the center of a 2010 episode of the History Channel's Gangland series that caused controversy among local bangers and anti-gang activists alike. His alleged street name: "Sly Dog." Get more details on the crime that took Perez's life and see the complete episode below.

The coroner's office notes that Perez was transported from 41st and Pecos on Sunday, November 30, with him succumbing to multiple stab wounds at 5:35 p.m. However, Denver Police Department spokesman Sergeant Steve Warneke says investigators believe the actual attack on Perez took place near the intersection of 40th and Osage, an area captured in the following interactive graphic. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."

View Larger Map

After being stabbed, Perez "apparently got in his car and tried to drive a little ways, but it wasn't very far," Warneke notes. Emergency personnel "got him out of his car, but we were able to determine the actual crime scene was nearby." He adds that "it looks like it was an outdoor scene, but we're still determining if anything took place inside the car, too."

Thus far, no suspects have been identified, and Warneke encourages anyone with information about the crime to contact the DPD at 720-913-6010 or Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867).

Meanwhile, a Denver Post brief, citing an unnamed police source, describes Perez as "a member of the North Side Mafia street gang" who went by the name "Sly Dog." Warneke doesn't confirm this information, pointing out that "it isn't the kind of thing we typically release," but neither does he deny it.

The North Side Mafia had already been around for years when our David Holthouse wrote about it in a 2001 article entitled "This Thug's Life." In the piece, Holthouse called NSM "north Denver's most deeply entrenched and ill-famed band of thugs" and noted that at the time, the gang used as its theme song the Project Pat song "North, North," featuring lines such as "On the north side of town (North, North!)/Lurk the killers and the thugs (North, North!)/Those who never show pity (North, North!)/Come up short, feel the slugs (North, North!)"

Nearly a decade later, the aforementioned Gangland series focused on NSM for a program entitled "Mile High Killers." Immediately after its airing, the episode was attacked by Francisco Gallardo, program director for Gang Rescue and Support Project (GRASP), who cooperated in the making of the show but couldn't have been more pissed off about how it turned out.

In a now-deleted video, Gallardo claimed to have been told by producers that they wouldn't focus on sensationalism -- but as you'll see in the clips below, that's not the way "Mile High Killers" turned out. He called the results "nothing but lies, lies, lies, lies, lies," and plenty more.

Afterward, the comments on our post featuring the Gallardo clip evolved into a virtual gang war, with often-capitalized words as weapons.

Look below to see all five parts of the "Mile High Killers" examination of the North Side Mafia, followed by a clip featuring Project Pat's "North, North."

Continue for more of the "Mile High Killers" episode of Gangland, plus a music video.

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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

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