Update: The Denver coroner's office has now positively identified the man killed by police following a robbery attempt at a cell-phone store as Mark Sepulveda -- the suspect in the September murder of Juan Carlos in Lakewood. Likewise, the Denver Police Department has confirmed that a suspect currently in custody is Justin Martinez, the other man wanted in the Carlos killing. Get more details in our previous coverage below.
Original item, 8:17 a.m. October 19: Yesterday's police shooting of one suspect, and the arrest of another, in the robbery of a Denver cell-phone store may have inadvertently solved -- or at least pushed toward resolution -- the September slaying of Juan Carlos in Lakewood.
That's because the Lakewood PD believes Carlos suspects Mark "Blizzo" Sepulveda and Justin Martinez were the pair involved in the heist gone wrong.
"I was told by our detective that he was 99 percent sure" the man killed in yesterday's incident was Sepulveda, says Lakewood Police spokesman Steve Davis. "I'm not sure why he's 99 percent and not 100 percent, unless he's waiting for confirmation from Denver and the coroner. But he feels confident that was one of our suspects. And he also feels like it's most likely the second suspect" -- Martinez -- "who's in custody."
As we reported last month, Lakewood officers were called to the 1300 block of South Harlan Street at about 9 a.m. on September 17. The reason: a family member had found the body of a male that had suffered "apparent trauma." The victim was subsequently identified as Carlos, age 26.
In the beginning, the LPD used the term "suspicious death" in relation to this grisly discovery, noting in a release that while no suspect was in custody, officers didn't believe the public was in danger -- a strong indication that cops had suspects in mind.
That proved to be the case. Within days, Lakewood authorities issued arrest warrants for 21-year-old Martinez and 24-year-old Sepulveda, who went by the nickname "Blizzo" -- a moniker that must have meant a lot to him, since he had the word tattooed on the right side of his neck. As for Martinez, his most noteworthy ink consisted of the word "Mile" on his right hand and "High" on his left.
When asked for details about the case, Davis defers, since it's already been sent to the district attorney. However, he does confirm that "the three of them were acquaintances -- including the victim."
Cut to yesterday around noon, when Denver Police received a call about a robbery at a cell-phone store near the intersection of 14th and Krameria, with shots reported to have been fired.
By the time officers arrived, the suspects were allegedly trying to carjack a Jeep. One of the alleged robbers is said to have had a gun pointed at the driver's head, but he soon turned the barrel in the direction of the cops -- at which point officers opened fire, striking the man. He was transported to a nearby hospital, where he died, while his cohort split -- but he didn't get far. He was rounded up near 14th and Leyden.
Davis expects the identities of the dead man and the one in custody to be released soon. We'll update this post when they are. In the meantime, check out a 9News video about the robbery and its aftermath, as well as an interactive graphic of the area near the scene of Carlos's murder. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."
View Larger Map
Click here to follow and like the Michael Roberts/Westword Facebook page.
More from our Mile High Murder archive: "Jose Manuel Martinez-Adame, aka Vampire, wanted in alleged drug-trade killing (25)."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.