Stephanie Hope first Denver homicide victim of 2012, Kevin Carter charged (36)

Update: The Denver coroner's office has now identified the city's first 2012 homicide victim as Stephanie Hope, a 28-year-old from Westminster. She was pronounced dead at 2:29 a.m. on New Year's Day of a "penetrating gunshot wound to the chest." Kevin Carter has been arrested in connection with the crime. Page down to read our earlier coverage.

Original post, 9:18 a.m. January 4: As we've noted in posts about the slayings of Andrea Roan, Elia Anastacio and Youn Malual, we've just emerged from a very bloody holiday season -- one capped by the death of a thus-far-unidentified woman shortly after midnight on New Year's Day. Denver Police are calling her alleged shooter, Kevin Andrew Carter, the first murder suspect of 2012, although they haven't always done so.

Officers were called to 3040 West 3rd Avenue amid the New Year's revelry and soon discovered a female victim with an apparent gunshot wound to the chest. She was pronounced deceased at a nearby hospital.

As noted by 9News, cops initially called the shooting accidental, but they've apparently changed their minds. Carter, 49, has been arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder and possession of a weapon by a previous offender. When contacted about the case, Detective John White declined to provide any information beyond the basics. However, he did note that the investigation is continuing.

Look below to see a larger version of Carter's mug shot, as well as an interactive graphic showing the area near the crime scene. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."

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More from our Mile High Murder archive: "Mark Sepulveda, Juan Carlos murder suspect, confirmed killed in cell-phone store robbery."

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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.
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