Hit by a Pitch

The Long, Hot, Colorado Summer

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Colorado is pretty much a total shitstorm right now. It’s been in the 90s and 100s for days, and the hot temperatures will continue into the foreseeable future (the current weather.com 10-day forecast has Denver in the 90s until next Tuesday). Wildfires are raging and people are being shot and killed in and around our neighborhood.

As you know if you’ve been reading here, Ben, Soren, and I go to City Park Jazz all the time. Everybody knows that if you want to find us on a Sunday evening, we’re probably there. Fortunately, we didn’t go last night.

Things have changed since we started going several years ago. Three or four years ago, we used to see well-choreographed gang displays. One week, a group of guys wearing red would get up and walk around the park. The next week, it would be a group of guys wearing blue. The next week, it would be both groups. I remember sitting there thinking, crap, if these guys wanted to start something, what would we do?

It’s been more crowded these days with less (or at least less blatant) gang activity and less potential violence — or so I thought. But last night, an off-duty Denver police officer who was trying to break up a fight as the concert was ending was shot in the head and killed.

A commenter on denverpost.com described the incident:

Since most of the news outlets are having trouble recreating what happened I can tell you what it was like to the South of the lake. If you’ve never been to Jazz in the Park before, it is a fairly segregated environment with the black crowd up to the North and the “wine and cheese yuppies” on the south side of the lake. There is some mixture around the stage area and around the boat house where there are a lot of people milling around. I think this is probably where the incident occurred.

We heard about 3 shots, then a couple more. People started looking around wondering if there was a shooting. The music stopped. We sat back down on the grass then the announcement came “Everyone needs to go to the South side of the park for your safety.” After about a minute, a crowd of mostly young white girls were running panicking towards our location, which is when people got really freaked out.

I figured it was probably some gang banger s*** and that we likely weren’t in any real danger. On the other hand, those bullets could have ended up in the crowd just about anywhere. The amount of emergency vehicles and police presence after the incident was unbelievable. Now I understand why. I think if they want to continue this event they will need to step up the number of uniformed officers in the area.

I, like a lot of people, won’t be going back to this event this year. RIP to the slain officer.

This is tragic and crazy. If you’re not familiar with City Park, it’s one of the biggest parks in Denver. It’s not, if you ask me, considered dangerous as alleged by some of the commenters on news stories about last night’s shooting.

This shooting happened just a month after two men, Deon T. Rudd and Justin O’Donnell, were shot and killed at York St. and Bruce Randolph in the middle of the day. The good news is that two suspects have been arrested and charged in that case. Another young man, De’Quan Walker-Smith, was shot and killed at 29th and Franklin in March.

What the fuck is going on, Denver? Shit like this always makes me wonder what we’re doing living where we live, where people get shot. But what do you do? So you live in the city, where people get shot. Or you live in the suburbs and you have Columbine. Or you live in an idyllic little college town and get Jerry Sandusky. Or you’re in or near the mountains and your entire neighborhood burns to the ground. Shit happens everywhere. I suppose the best way to deal with it is to be careful without being paranoid and live your life as best you can.


Update: If you’re looking for information on Rollin Oliver, I haven’t been able to find much. I can’t find him on Facebook (although apparently he is on there) and this could be him on Twitter. Apparently he resides in northeast Denver. He’s alleged to be a gang member.

Update: New article:

Written by Tracy

June 25th, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Posted in and life,Denver,life in the hood

Tagged with , ,