Crime

Police Arrest 22-Year-Old in Fatal January 1 Shooting at Cabin Tap House

A New Year's party at Cabin ended in tragedy.
A New Year's party at Cabin ended in tragedy. Google Maps
The Denver Police Department has arrested a 22-year-old man in connection with the fatal shooting that left two dead at Cabin Tap House in the early-morning hours of January 1.

According to the DPD, officers arrested Levi Floyd Diecidue late on January 13 in a residential section of northwest Aurora. The arrest was the result of a team effort by the Aurora Police Department, the Denver Police Fugitive Unit, the Denver Violent Criminal Enterprise Task Force, and the Denver Special Operations Response Team.

"Diecidue is being held for investigation of First-Degree Murder, First-Degree Murder with Extreme Indifference and First-Degree Assault," reads a DPD statement. The shooting also left two wounded.

The DPD notes that the probable-cause statement related to Diecidue is sealed at this time and that the department is not releasing a booking photo. Furthermore, the department requests that any "photos found of the suspect be withheld, as witnesses still need to be contacted and releasing a photo could jeopardize the ongoing investigation"; it adds that "no other parties are being sought in this incident."

Hours after the shooting, the Department of Excise and Licenses issued a temporary suspension of Cabin's liquor license. This week, the department issued a show-cause order, setting a hearing date for January 18, when Cabin will have to argue why it should be able to keep a liquor license. The club had been owned until late 2021 by Valentes Corleons (legal name Hussam Kayali), who owns the neighboring Beta nightclub, which recently lost its liquor license as well. Although Corleons had sold Cabin to Thomas Schaefer, he still owns the building, which he bought last summer for $2.5 million. Before the ownership change, the building had been home to Falling Rock Tap House for 24 years; Corleons transformed it into Cabin.

The most detailed information about the shooting comes from the show-cause order. In the complaint section of the document, Emily Reisdorph of the Denver City Attorney's Office wrote that an "investigation disclosed that a fight had broken out inside The Cabin earlier in the night. Security staff broke up the fight, and the involved parties were allowed to remain on the premises. After that fight, one witness reported that a male patron bleeding from the head approached them at the bar and stated that he had been 'jumped' by a group of Hispanic guys in the bar. Later in the evening, the same individuals engaged in a second altercation that led to the shooting."

The two individuals killed in the shooting were 24-year-old Devonte Phillips and 29-year-old Hiyaw "Joya" Tesfa Zewdie-Walker. According to Jordan Rodriguez, Phillips's sister-in-law, Phillips was the one who had been jumped earlier that night and was bleeding from the head. Phillips leaves behind a two-year-old daughter, while Tesfa Zewdie-Walker leaves behind a nine-year-old daughter and a twelve-year-old son.

Rodriguez described the shooter that night as wearing a "beanie-style hat with light jeans and tennis shoes" and a "solid jacket." A video taken by someone at Cabin in the run-up to the shooting shows part of the altercation that took place. In the video, a man matching the description that Rodriguez provided of the shooter can be seen reaching into the waist of his jeans just seconds before five shots are fired. The video does not clearly capture the actual shooting itself.

Online records indicate that Diecidue attended Broomfield High School, where he was a successful member of the wrestling team. In March 2017, his adoptive parents organized a GoFundMe campaign to help send their then-eighteen-year-old son to an expensive wrestling camp during the summer prior to Diecidue's senior year in high school.

"Statistics said this young man should be in jail, that he should have failed out of high school, that he ultimately wouldn't amount to much in the face of society. However, this young man has overcome statistics. He has rewritten his story, and Mollie and I couldn't be more proud of him...better yet, he couldn't be more proud of himself!" one of Diecidue's parents wrote in the online fundraiser description, which noted that Diecidue was interested in joining the U.S. Marine Corps after high school.

A court database does not show any hearings scheduled yet for Diecidue, who is being held at the Downtown Detention Center.
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Conor McCormick-Cavanagh is a staff writer at Westword, where he covers a range of beats, including local politics, immigration and homelessness. He previously worked as a journalist in Tunisia and loves to talk New York sports.