The Denver shooting and the Boulder fire — and how to support the victims
Hello and welcome to the first City Cast Denver newsletter of 2022.
I hope you were all able to find some ways to enjoy the holidays before tragedy in the form of a deadly shooting spree in Denver and a devastating wildfire in Boulder County closed out the year for Colorado. Today, I’ll update you on that, plus everything else that happened while we were on break. Let’s get caught up…
— Peyton Garcia, City Cast Denver Newsletter Writer
The big news:
The Boulder County wildfire:
Last Thursday, when Boulder County winds reached speeds of 105 miles per hour, a small grassfire near the communities of Superior and Louisville erupted into a full-blown wildfire. It engulfed both towns, consumed more than 6,000 acres, and displaced roughly 600 families. It’s estimated that close to 1,000 residences and businesses were destroyed, making this the most destructive fire in Colorado history. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but initial speculation pointed to a downed power line. At the time of writing this newsletter, there have been no confirmed deaths, but two people remain unaccounted for.
How you can support the community:
- Register as a volunteer and sign up for email updates on volunteer opportunities at ColoradoResponds.org.
- Material donations like food and bottled water are not currently needed, but monetary donations are still being accepted through The Community Foundation of Boulder County.
- Help keep an eye out for missing pets by following the Boulder County Fire Lost and Found Pets page on Facebook.
- Offer housing to displaced families through AirBnB’s Open Homes Program.
The Denver shooting rampage:
Last Monday, a man went on a shooting spree across the Denver metro area, injuring several people and killing five. Though the investigation is ongoing, it seems that at least some of the victims were intentionally targeted by the shooter. The victims — Alicia Cardenas, Alyssa Gunn-Maldonado, Danny Scofield, Sarah Steck, and Michael Swinyard — left behind families and friends, but they also left behind community-centered businesses and artistic legacies.
How you can support the victims’ families:
- Danny (Dano Blair) Scofield leaves behind three children and a grieving family. A GoFundMe has been set up to support his kids and help his family with funeral expenses.
- Jeremy Costilow, his wife, and infant daughter survived a targeted attack by the shooter, who also torched Costilow’s van. There’s a GoFundMe set up to help the Costilow family recover from the attack.
- A GoFundMe has been set up for the family of Sarah Steck, an artist who was working at the Belmar Hyatt House when she was murdered.
- Lakewood Police Officer Ashley Ferris survived her encounter with the shooter, but will be in recovery for quite some time. Fellow officers have set up a GoFundMe to support her.
- Alyssa Gunn-Maldonado leaves behind her husband, James “Jimmy” Maldonado (who was also shot in the attack, but survived) as well as a stepson. A GoFundMe has been set up to cover funeral expenses and help with James’s recovery.
- Alicia Cardenas is survived by her twelve-year old child. The family will be setting up a trust for them with the money raised by this GoFundMe.
- Sol Tribe, the tattoo and piercing shop owned by Alicia Cardenas, employed a dozen artists. They will need support while the shop is closed; a GoFundMe has been set up to help them. You can also support the artists at Lucky 13, Danny Scofield’s shop, by bringing gift cards for groceries, gas, and other needs to Hope Tank on South Broadway.
What else happened while we were away:
⚖️ Gov. Jared Polis reduced the 110-year prison sentence of Rogel Aguilera-Mederos (who caused a 28-car pile up in 2019 that killed four people) down to 10 years after the initial sentencing drew national outcry.
🗑️ Beginning today, you probably have a new Denver trash pickup schedule. Check for yourself here.
🍎 Denver Public School’s brand new superintendent, Alex Marrero, got an idea of his popularity ratings when the school board voted to extend his contract from two years to four years after only five months on the job.
📜 Colorado has 14 new state laws that went into effect on the first of the new year.
🤔 Denver school board vice president Tay Anderson, who spent the majority of last year tangled up in a sexual assault scandal (and a subsequent investigation that found the most serious of the claims to be unsubstantiated), wrapped up the year by releasing a rap single. Listen to it here.
😷 Denver’s mask mandate that was set to expire today has been extended through Feb. 3.
🦠 In the two weeks we were on holiday break, Colorado went from identifying its first handful of omicron outbreaks to the new variant making up 90% of the state’s current cases. And it wreaked havoc on local sports.
🛑 City Council approved the “20 is plenty” ordinance, dropping the speed limit on Denver’s neighborhood streets from 25 to 20 miles per hour. What’s even slower? The speed limit signage implementation, which is expected to take three to five years.
🏡 Denver’s East Colfax neighborhood will now allow accessory dwelling units (or ADUs) to be built on residents’ properties.
🚨 Denver City Council is scheduled to vote tonight on whether or not to renew and extend the police department’s contract with ShotSpotter, a controversial gunshot detection technology.
🐾 And in my favorite news of the last two weeks, the community of Littleton elected Murdoch, the five-year-old basset hound, to be the city’s honorary mayor, alongside Netty, Murdoch’s French bulldog mayor pro tem.
🎧 LISTEN: The Shooting and The Fire: Today, Host Bree Davies, Producer Paul Karolyi, and me, Peyton Garcia, come together to discuss last week’s tragedies — the shooting spree in Denver and the Boulder County wildfire — plus share a few stories and lend a listening ear to those impacted.
Do you have a connection to the shooting or the fires? We would love to offer up City Cast Denver as a platform for stories about victims, personal experiences of the fires, or anything else you’d like other Denverites to hear about these two tragedies. Leave us a voicemail with a story, your name, and your neighborhood at 720-500-5418.