A year ago this month, a homicide outside Players Club in Adams County anchored a roundup of eight slayings or attacks at Colorado strip joints. And the violence connected to such venues didn't end there. In recent months, there have been two more incidents at metro-area strip clubs, with the latest, at Dandy Dan's on South Federal Boulevard, resulting in a first-degree-murder charge against Jared Chavez.
Continue for coverage from eight previous Westword posts, plus details of the two latest crimes.
As you'll see, the first of the incidents below also took place at Dandy Dan's, and the 2015 #SelfieSaturday killing at PT's II All Nude was among the reasons cited when the City of Denver purchased the club last year as part of an effort to spur an economic revival in the area.
Benjamin Lucero suspect in Dandy Dan's strip club homicide of George Valenzuela-Lopez
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2011, AT 3:03 P.M.
At about 11:45 p.m on February 8 at Dandy Dan's, a South Federal strip club, a pair of men got into an altercation in the parking lot — and only one of them left alive.
The victim has been identified by the Denver coroner's office as George Valenzuela-Lopez, 34.
"The cause of death is complications of multiple gunshot wounds," the medical examiner release states. "The manner of death is homicide."
The Denver Police Department has identified a suspect in the shootout as Benjamin Lucero, 22.
Photos: Platinum 84 Strip Club Early Morning Shooting Hurts Two, One Possibly Critical
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 13, 2014, AT 6:30 A.M.
Two people were injured, with one possibly in critical condition, at Platinum 84, a Federal Heights strip club, toward the end of an evening touted on the venue's Facebook page with the promise that the action would be "smoking hot."
By 1:45 a.m., according to 7News, only about ten customers remained at the club.
And that's when all hell broke loose.
Law enforcers from several agencies, including the Thornton and Westminster police departments, responded to the scene.
Investigators believe a number of customers (they weren't employees) got into an altercation that erupted into gunfire.
Two men were hit by flying lead — one in the hip, the other in the chest. The former is expected to survive, and it's hoped that the latter will as well, although he was possibly in critical condition at last word.
Platinum 84 Strip Club Back in Spotlight: Cop Hurt After Attack on Night of 2 Live Crew Show
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2014, AT 5:53 A.M.
Just last month, Platinum 84, a Federal Heights strip club, made headlines due to a high-profile shooting that injured two people. Now, the venue's back in the news for another crime: an attack that caused a police officer to be hospitalized.
The most recent offense took place on Saturday, September 27, when 2 Live Crew, the vintage hip-hop crew best remembered for the lascivious tune "Me So Horny," was scheduled to perform for the second of two nights at the club.
A Platinum 84 post on Saturday noted that the final show was almost sold out — but Lieutenant Gary Toldness, spokesman for the Federal Heights Police Department, says the matter that led to the officer's injury doesn't appear to have been related to the performance. Instead, the problems centered around what he refers to as a "bachelor party bus.
"There was some kind of incident inside the bar," Toldness continues. "Maybe someone touched a dancer and was asked to leave — but he wouldn't leave. So the cops were called."
Upon officers' arrival, the alleged troublemakers "weren't really fighting. They were just being obnoxious," Toldness allows. "But as the officers were trying to investigate the incident, directing people to stay and not to go, the guy involved in the incident got on the bus — and when they tried to get him off the bus, that's when the incident happened."
Specifically, a man struck a police officer in the face, injuring him severely enough that he had to be hospitalized.
Clinton Clarke Allegedly Stabbed Man Who Got Into Wrong Truck at Strip Club
THURSDAY, MARCH 5, 2015, AT 8:46 A.M.
We've all done it — gone up to a vehicle in a parking lot that looked like ours only to discover it was actually someone else's.
In general, though, we don't get stabbed for making this mistake.
That's apparently what happened to a customer of a strip club in Grand Junction — an incident that led to the arrest of Parker resident Clinton Clarke.
The location of the incident was Fantasy Gentlemen's Club, which we wrote about in August 2013 owing to a lawsuit filed by exotic dancers at the venue. Among other things, the complaint cited an alleged payment structure that included exorbitant fines for a whole range of actions — such as ponying up $50 plus increased stage fees if a customer touched a dancer's vagina.
At about 1:40 a.m., according to the Grand Junction Police Department, a club employee called 911 after a man came into the venue with what were described as stab wounds to his stomach and chest.
The working theory early on: The man had been in the club, went outside, got stabbed and returned.
During the investigation that followed, investigators stopped a pickup truck that matched the description of one seen leaving the parking lot around the time of the stabbing. The pair of occupants included Clarke, but both were subsequently released.
Clarke wouldn't remain free for long.
The officer who'd quizzed Clarke and his compatriot subsequently eyeballed surveillance video showing that their truck had indeed been the one that had split from the club around the time of the stabbing, the GJPD maintains.
Shortly thereafter, the truck was located again as Clarke and his pal were walking away from it. Clarke then told the officer that he had a knife under his jacket, and the cops say it was smeared with residue "consistent with blood."
As for what happened, investigators believe the victim mistakenly got into the backseat of Clarke's truck and was there when the men emerged from the club.
A witness told police he saw Clarke holding a knife — and the victim was holding his stomach when he got out of the truck.
For his part, Clarke "told officers he did find the victim sitting in the backseat of the truck but denied stabbing him," the GJPD allows.
Update: PT's Strip Club's "Barricade Situation" Over, No Gunmen Found
TUESDAY, APRIL 21, 2015, AT 9:59 A.M.
Update: The barricade situation at PT's Showclub, at 1601 West Evans Avenue, is over, and it's ended in strange fashion.
As we previously reported, armed suspects broke into the establishment at around 6:15 a.m., when the only folks inside were members of the cleaning crew, all of whom escaped unharmed.
Afterward, police, including SWAT units, arrived in force, blocking off the street and surrounding the club.
Then, around 9:30 a.m., they entered the premises. It was deserted, suggesting that the men had managed to escape some time earlier.
PT's Dancer TeJae Se'Rae Cannon Stabbed by Another Stripper Who's Still at Large
MONDAY, AUGUST 31, 2015, AT 5:50 A.M.
PT's Showclub, at 1601 West Evans Avenue, is a historic venue — the former home of the Family Dog, a rock-and-roll venue that played host to late '60s-early '70s legends such as the Doors and the Grateful Dead before being transformed into one of the city's longest-lasting exotic-dancing joints.
But earlier this year, the business was the site of a SWAT team raid.
And now, police are looking for a stripper who stabbed fellow dancer TeJae Se'Rae Cannon outside the club.
Early Thursday, August 27, exotic dancer Cannon was stabbed multiple times, suffering wounds to the right side of her neck, her left hand and both forearms.
Cannon's mother says her daughter was stabbed by a fellow dancer at the club.
Update: The Resolution of Stephen Futrell's Strip Club Murder Case
THURSDAY, AUGUST 18, 2016, AT 6:27 A.M.
In 2015, Stephen Futrell was arrested on suspicion of murdering a man outside PT's II, a local strip club.
The incident took place just after midnight on September 13 — and police quickly determined that surveillance video had caught images of victim Jeremy Garcia and his suspected killer, Futrell, both inside and outside the club.
Later that morning, investigators quizzed a source whose identity is protected in the police report. That person said Futrell had been coming into the bar for about two months, usually on Fridays and Saturdays — and he introduced himself as Magic. For his part, Garcia had been a regular for a month or so.
On the evening in question, Futrell apparently felt Garcia got a little too familiar with him.
The victim came up behind Magic, grabbed Magic by the shoulders and shook Magic. This upset Magic and Magic told the victim, "You don't know me like that!" The victim told Magic, "We can settle this right now!" Magic told the victim "Settle what?" [Deleted] told Magic and the victim to stop arguing and directed each of them to opposite sides of the bar.
Futrell went outside a short time later, presumably to smoke a cigarette. After that, Garcia headed outside, too — and within minutes, a woman ran into the club to announce that someone had been shot.
How did the cops find Futrell? Turns out he'd given his phone number to the unnamed source a couple of weeks earlier. Turns out one of his aliases was "Mr. Magic."
This month, Futrell accepted a deal in the case, albeit one that carries a heavy sentence.
According to the Denver District Attorney's Office, Futrell pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for the dropping of two other charges: first-degree murder and a weapons beef.
His sentence: 35 years in prison.
Players Club Killing One of Eight Slayings, Attacks at Colorado Strip Clubs
MONDAY, JANUARY 9, 2017, at 5:34 A.M.
Law-enforcement sources as saying that just after 4:30 a.m. yesterday, January 8, three men who'd been kicked out of the venue earlier in the evening came back to the club several hours later and fired shots at the guard.
He returned fire, striking and killing a thus-far-unidentified man.
By the way, previous shootings had taken place at the business in September 2015 and last June.
Shotgun Willie's shooting, October 22, 2017
Around 3 a.m. on the 22nd, a group of individuals was reportedly denied entrance to the venerable club, located on South Colorado Boulevard in Glendale.
Shortly thereafter, one of the rejectees produced a weapon and opened fire on employees. One staffer was hit, suffering non-threatening injuries in the process.
The suspects and the other members of the party fled the scene. Since then, no arrests in the case have been revealed.
Dandy Dan's shooting, December 31, 2017
Just shy of 3 a.m. on the 31st, according to an arrest affidavit accessible below, investigators with the Denver Police Department were called to Dandy Dan's, located at 241 South Federal, to interview those who'd witnessed the murder of Junior Izaguirre Gamez, 35, in the venue's parking lot.
According to the police report, a friend of Gamez's told the officers that the victim had been among a group of friends who'd come to Dandy Dan's after spending time at the Church nightclub and insisted that they'd had no altercations or cross words with anyone inside.
The situation changed after they exited. While walking across the parking lot, the group passed by what was described as a black four-door sedan whose rear passenger began yelling at them.
Gamez is said to have responded by telling his friends to ignore the scene and keep walking. But as he was following his own advice, the passenger opened fire at Gamez, who suffered a fatal wound to the chest.
At that point, the sedan took off, and the friend's attempt to run after the vehicle in an attempt to see the license plate number was unsuccessful.
Turns out it didn't matter. Video from inside the club helped detectives quickly identify four suspects — two women and two men, including Jared Chavez.
Surveillance footage from outside the club was even more revealing, the affidavit maintains. It captured the moment when the person identified as Chavez pointed the weapon and pulled the trigger.
It didn't take long for police to track down Chavez, who'd had previous interactions with the cops, and on January 8, he was formally charged with first-degree murder.
There remain plenty of unanswered questions, however. Thus far, we don't know if Chavez and Gamez knew each other, and if not, what prompted the former to allegedly kill the latter.
Click to read the Jared Chavez arrest affidavit.
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