Latest Fatal Shooting at "Worst" Let-Out Lot and Six More LoDo Area Crimes

As Friday night, July 29, was giving way to Saturday morning, July 30, the Denver Police Department responded to the latest shooting in lower downtown — one that left one man dead and another one injured.

The location — a parking lot near 18th and Market — was no doubt familiar to them.

A 2010 feature article by Alan Prendergast described the shooting of Tiffaine Casados in a parking lot at 18th and Market.

Prendergast wrote:
The shooting wasn't the first eruption of violence in the parking lot in the 1800 block of Market, and it wouldn't be the last. In the view of several veteran police officers, for years the lot was the single-worst place to be when the clubs let out on a weekend or a drinking holiday, the most dangerous block in all of LoDo — a scene of beer-sodden fights, random gunplay and gang assaults both calculated and spontaneous. One Denver lieutenant would later testify that he'd never walk into that lot late at night if he wasn't armed and in uniform.
The latest shooting didn't take place at let-out — but it still raises questions about late-night safety and security near bars and clubs in LoDo.

Indeed, there have been plenty of other incidents like this one in recent years. Here are five examples from LoDo and other downtown areas, drawn from previous Westword reports and featuring links to our original coverage.

Police release sketch of LoDo shooting suspect
July 17, 2013

The man who was slain on the streets of LoDo early Saturday morning has been identified: He was nineteen-year-old Airman 1st Class Shaquille Hargrove, a satellite-systems operator for the 2nd Space Warning Squadron based at Buckley Air Force base. "On behalf of myself and Team Buckley, I want to offer my sincerest condolences to the families and friends of those affected by this tragic incident," Colonel Dan Wright said in a statement Sunday. "Our airmen are the greatest assets in the Air Force, and we lost a valuable member of Team Buckley this weekend."

Hargrove was shot around 2:15 a.m. Saturday morning after clubs in the area had closed down; according to the Denver Police Department, a brawl broke out at 15th and Market streets. A second Buckley airman was injured; he's since been released from the hospital. Several other people were arrested....

[Note: The Denver District Attorney's Office subsequently charged four men in connection with the street fight, but not Hargrove's murder.]

Photos: Shooting at Cold Crush hip-hop club injures three, one critically
June 2, 2014

Cold Crush, at 2700 Larimer, is among the most acclaimed nightspots in Denver, earning write-ups in both our Backbeat and Cafe Society blogs, with the latter naming it the best new bar of 2013. No wonder it earned a Best of Denver award earlier this year.

This morning, however, the attention focusing on the bar is far less happy. Early this morning, gunfire rang out near the venue, injuring three people — one critically....

The incident took place at around 2:30 a.m., after the club closed. That information will likely bring more attention to violence associated with let-out, a topic the Denver Police Department addressed in a Reditt AMA in April 2013.

Here's an exchange from that session:

AMA question: I live in Denver and have been concerned about some of the recent shootings outside the bars in downtown, what can I do to ensure my safety?

DPD: Some rules to LIVE by:

1. Stay in pairs 2. Don't go into alleys to pee, etc. 3. Don't go looking for trouble (it may find you) 4. Leave well before bars close....

Dusten Fischer, Expectant Father, Stabbed Nine Times in LoDo
February 13, 2015

Dusten Fischer and his beloved, Ashleigh, are expecting the birth of their first child together — a boy they've already named Brantley — on February 19. But less than a week away from that date, Fischer is in critical condition at Denver Health after being stabbed nine times during an altercation in Lower Downtown....

Fischer and co-workers were on the 1900 block of Market Street at about 2:15 a.m. Sunday, February 8, when an argument broke out involving him and two men, later identified as Mario Lopez-Ramirez, 24, and Francisco Herrera, 23. About what, we don't know.

In any event, the situation soon escalated into violence. Lopez-Ramirez allegedly pulled out a knife and began stabbing Fischer. Herrera is also said to have been slashed by Lopez-Ramirez, but speculation suggests that his injury was accidental....

Continue for details about three other attacks in LoDo and beyond in 2015 and 2016.

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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