Crime

Denver Crime Spree Victim's Paralysis Revealed as Shootings Continue

A portrait of Thomas Young included on a GoFundMe page devoted to his medical care.
A portrait of Thomas Young included on a GoFundMe page devoted to his medical care. GoFundMe
Coverage of a startling August 17 crime spree has focused on the murder of eighteen-year-old seminary student Shmuel Silverberg and a manhunt for five young suspects, which concluded last week with the arrest of the last fugitive, Samuel Fussell. But little was known about another person shot during the rampage beyond confirmation from the Denver Police Department that following a robbery, the victim was transported to an area hospital in critical condition but was expected to survive.

Until now.

The victim has been identified as Thomas Young by his family, which has established a GoFundMe page devoted to his medical care. It reveals that Young was paralyzed by the gunshot and may never walk again.

"Our oldest son, Thomas, was shot and beaten on August 17, 2021 during a senseless, deadly crime spree here in Denver, Colorado," the GoFundMe page's introduction begins. "He is now paralyzed with a spinal cord injury and it is unknown if he will ever walk again. He will need months to years of rehabilitation in order to learn to live this new life of his."

Young's parents describe him as "a young man with a bachelor's degree and a bright future" who "tirelessly serves the public, working for the State of Colorado for the past five years. Being very active, Thomas enjoys and appreciates Colorado’s great outdoors. He loves running, biking and hiking in our beautiful mountains. As an avid biker, he participated in the 500+ mile Bicycle Tour of Colorado eleven years ago and still enjoys cycling to work and around downtown Denver."

The injuries that Young sustained will require many accommodations, including his living arrangements. His parents point out that "due to this heinous assault, he will need to move to a new residence since he will not be able to access his current residence on the second floor."

Once a homicide victim's next of kin has been notified, law enforcement agencies make their names public; 64 have lost their lives in Denver in 2021 through August 28, according to the DPD's indispensable Denver Crime Map. However, individuals who are shot, stabbed, beaten or wounded by other means but survive aren't routinely identified, and their numbers are staggering. The Denver Crime Map lists 92 aggravated assaults between August 19, when police announced that the first four suspects in the crime spree that sent Young to the hospital were in custody, and August 28, the most recent date for which data is available.

The Denver Police Department's Twitter account has announced at least two more shootings since then. At 3:05 a.m. on Sunday, August 29, the department tweeted about the shooting of an adult female on the 2100 block of South Sheridan Boulevard. Then, at 12:18 a.m. today, August 30, the department confirmed the shooting of an adult male on the 2100 block of West Asbury Avenue. No details about a suspect or suspects in either shooting have yet been released; people with information about the incidents can contact Denver Metro Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867).

As for Young, just under $16,000 has been raised on the GoFundMe page toward a goal of $275,000. He remains in intensive care, but his parents note that "although he has a long road of recovery ahead of him, Thomas is very optimistic and knows it will take a lot of hard work and determination to tackle the obstacles and challenges he will face."
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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.
Contact: Michael Roberts