Mere months after getting a tattoo on the left side of his chest that read "Save Your Heart for Someone Who Leaves You Breathless," Corey Clemons's heart stopped.
In the immediate aftermath of his fatal shooting in Aurora two years ago, few details were released, and that remained the case even after Lloyd Rickey Henderson was arrested and charged with the crime days later.
But now, in the wake of Henderson's conviction and sentencing, we know that the gunman felled Clemons in front of his mother after using a bullet to intervene in a clash between her son and her live-in boyfriend that both parties would have otherwise survived.
At around 2:35 a.m. on September 27, 2015, as we reported at the time, officers with the Aurora Police Department were dispatched to the Canterra at Fitzsimons Apartments, at 348 Potomac Way.
Upon their arrival, they found an adult male in the parking lot. The man, later identified as Clemons, was suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
Marijuana Deals Near You
No movement in the investigation was reported for the better part of a week. Then, on Saturday, October 3, the APD put out a news alert calling for the public's help in locating Henderson.
The release maintained that Henderson had gotten into an altercation at the Canterra complex resulting in Clemons's death — and that night, Henderson was taken into custody on suspicion of murder by the department's fugitive apprehension and surveillance team.
What happened? According to the 18th Judicial District DA's office, Clemons and his mom's boyfriend had a dispute at her apartment that led to a verbal argument — one serious enough that it was eventually taken outside.
However, prosecutors stress that neither Clemons nor the boyfriend were armed.
Henderson was. He'd been waiting outside in his car, since he was supposed to give the boyfriend, his cousin, a ride. Upon seeing the fight, a witness said he pulled out a gun without warning, and without an invitation to do so from his cousin, then pulled the trigger.
He hit Clemons in the back while his mother stood nearby.
At that point, Henderson split and later asked his girlfriend to hide the weapon.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
It didn't help. This past September 22, a jury in Arapahoe County found Henderson guilty of second-degree murder — and a judge subsequently sentenced him to 32 years in the Department of Corrections.
This wasn't Henderson's first violent crime. He'd previously been found guilty in a stabbing, as 18th Judicial District DA George Brauchler noted in a post-sentencing statement.
"Here is yet another previously convicted felon who was able to obtain, use and dispose of a firearm in violation of our laws," Brauchler noted. "This one happened to be a coward who shot an innocent man in the back and then gutlessly ran away from his crime and had his girlfriend dispose of his murderous weapon."
He added: "Corey Clemons deserves to be alive. Henderson deserves to be in prison for decades."