Hit by a Pitch

Archive for the ‘Cole news’ tag

I just checked in at Murder Park.

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Last night, I listened to the police scanner for hours. I couldn’t sleep. Soren was doing this thing he does sometimes where he sleeps for a few hours and then something like this happens: Cry. Quiet. Cry. Quiet. Cry. Crycrycrycry scream! That’s when you go in to see what he needs. Most of the time, he’s kind of still asleep while this is happening — he’s crying with his eyes closed and you go in there and he doesn’t open his eyes and you don’t want to do much because you don’t want to totally wake him up. Eventually you give him some milk even though you don’t want to give him milk in bed but it’s the only thing that works. He wakes up enough to drink the milk and then is quiet for a while, until the whole cycle starts over again.

Variations of this cycle occurred from midnight to 3 a.m. last night. Ben can sleep through it until I make enough noise to wake him up because I feel like I’ll go crazy if I don’t get some sleep. I can’t sleep through it. I’ll be drifting off, finally, and then the first “Waaaaah!” has me wide awake, where I remain in some fight-or-flight-like state, until after the last “Waaaaah!” of the night has been uttered, whenever that might be.

So I was listening to the police scanner between waaaaahs. Because several people often speak at once on the scanner, it’s hard for me to figure out what’s happening sometimes. I heard something about a man and a woman who had been parked in a McDonald’s parking lot for four hours, and someone inside finally called it in because they were closing the restaurant. I think they sent multiple officers to the McDonald’s parking lot. This sounded like it had the potential to be really bad. Nobody sits in a McDonald’s parking lot for four hours. There was something else at 29th and Lafayette, but I didn’t catch what. I always perk up a little when our ‘hood is mentioned.

This morning, I checked the Denver Police twitter stream to find out what happened last night, because I had a really bad feeling about the McDonald’s parking lot. I didn’t see anything about that, but I did see something about 30th and Lafayette.


at Curtis Park

Dr. Daniel Hale Williams Park is located at 30th and Lafayette, where one street curves into the other. I didn’t even know the name of the park until yesterday, when I added it to Foursquare. (I’m a total dork about adding random neighborhood parks to Foursquare.) It’s a tiny park. There are a couple picnic benches, a little play structure, and three swings — two regular and one baby. We took Soren there late yesterday afternoon to go on the swing. We figured we’d try a different park and knew Williams (I keep wanting to refer to it as Kevin McHale Park, or at least I did before I came up with a better nickname) has baby swings. Well, a baby swing. Just one.

I didn’t realize, or I forgot, that this park is a big-time hangout. One picnic table was filled with youngish guys, two of whom were shooting craps. Somebody was smoking terrible weed. One of the young guys was wearing a White Sox hat. I never know what this means any more. Older guys were sitting at the other table. One of them walked around the park picking up trash. He said “hi” to us. Whoever had been smoking weed stopped while we were there with the baby. The whole time we were there, a guy stood on 29th, away from everybody else. I’m not sure what he was doing. Cars and SUVs with booming bass drove by or parked and the people got out and came to the park.

It was — and I’m not sure how to write about this without sounding like an asshole, which I’d really like to avoid here — definitely a situation where we were out of place. I wasn’t worried about the people at the park. They weren’t interested in messing with us. What I was worried about were the people out there, assuming they exist, who have a problem with the people at the park. Like that guy who just drove by in the SUV. That guy made me nervous. But I don’t know. I watch a lot of The First 48 and have an overactive imagination.

I don’t know whether the better course of action would’ve been to not stop at the park in the first place. I don’t know. When you bring your kid to the park and there are people who are different from you in whatever way there, aren’t you kind of an asshole if you just leave? I mean, the act of putting our kid on a swing isn’t a big statement or anything, but isn’t that sometimes the right thing to do, even if you feel weird about it?

We didn’t stay at the park for very long — just long enough for Soren to swing for a while and grab a few pine cones that he’d obsessively carry around for the next hour and for me to add the park to Foursquare. I told Ben I’d like to become mayor of the park, which shouldn’t be hard to accomplish. One more check in and I’d have it.

We walked past what had become a decent crowd by one of the picnic tables and headed up Lafayette. I told Ben I thought it would be kind of cool if we had a neighborhood hangout like that park, where you could just show up whenever and someone would be there. Our people, if you want to be that way (and I really don’t, but I have to be honest) don’t do stuff like that. We hang out in our yards and, at least if you’re us, are pretty isolated from our neighbors. Williams Park said something interesting to me during our short time there. I’m not sure exactly how to interpret it.

Anyway, back to the Denver Police Twitter stream. When I checked it this morning, I saw:

BREAKING: DPD Offcrs and Dets are investigating a homicide at Williams Park (2952 N Lafayette St)

Here’s the related article from The Denver Post:

Man shot to death in Denver’s Dr. Daniel Hale Park

A man was shot to death in a Denver park tonight and his assailant fled in a black sport-utility vehicle.

The victim has not been identified. He died after being shot multiple times about 8 p.m. in Dr. Daniel Hale Park at 3000 North Lafayette St., said police spokesman Sonny Jackson.

“There may have been multiple witnesses in the park who ran away,” Jackson said. “We’re hoping they will come back and talk to us.”

Jackson said it appeared the shooter got out of the SUV at the street, walked into the park and had a conversation with the victim, before he pulled out a pistol and began shooting.

Anyone with information can call Denver police at 720-913-2000 or call Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867. Tips also can be sent by text to CRIMES (274637) then title DMCS, or by e-mail to metro-denvercrimestoppers.com.

So, approximately three hours after we were hanging out at this park with our kid, somebody was murdered there. I don’t know who it was or whether it was someone we saw yesterday. I don’t know why it happened or who did it. I don’t know what would’ve happened if we’d been at the park at the time. I don’t know why this shit happens. I just — I just don’t know.

I’ve heard about people running races, like today’s Bolder Boulder, in memory of loved ones. We didn’t run a race this morning — Ben, Soren, Peaches, and I just went for a run through the ‘hood, down to and around City Park. It doesn’t count for anything, but I ran in memory of the guy who was killed in my neighborhood last night, whoever he was. I’m sorry that happened. I hope there’s something we can do to make it better.

Update: On June 3, 2011, the victim was identified as Richard Eugene McDaniel. He was 40 years old.

Written by Tracy

May 30th, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Bomb Scare at Mitchell

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Breaking news in the Cole neighborhood of Denver:

If you’re wondering what’s up with the police activity in Cole right now, there’s a bomb scare at Mitchell Elementary. Police are blocking several streets in the area, including Martin Luther King, 33rd, Lafayette, and Marion. Apparently people were told there was a pipe bomb in the building and were instructed to get their kids out. I heard something that sounded kind of explosion-like a few minutes ago, but it wasn’t very loud and I have no idea what it was.

The police scanner is down and this is getting no news coverage, as usual for our lovely Denver neighborhood.

Written by Tracy

April 22nd, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Crime in the ‘Hood

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Yesterday afternoon as we walked home from Curtis Park, we passed a guy on 33rd wearing a red baseball hat cocked to the right. At the same time, a car drove by (and you could kind of say it drove by deliberately, whatever that might mean) and I noticed that the driver was wearing a red baseball hat. (I didn’t see what team was on the hat in either case.) “Hey,” I said to Ben, “what’s up with all these guys wearing red hats?” I hadn’t noticed a proliferation of red-hatted, young-ish, male individuals in our neighborhood before, and I always notice things like that, as a sports fan and as someone who knows something about gangs.

I don’t know if this has anything to do with the rest of the story.
My usual procedure after hearing gunshots while at home (Isn’t it awesome that I have a usual procedure for that?) involves second-guessing myself (especially during the summer, when life is but a game of “gunshots or fireworks” and you’re never sure what you jut heard) and then turning on the police scanner to make sure somebody called the police. Last night around 8:30, the gunshots were close enough and numerous enough for me to jump off the couch, look out the front window to see several people running like hell from the basketball court, and call the fuck out of 911. It’s amazing how wound up I get in this situation and how I’m capable of breathlessly confusing streets that go north/south and streets that go east/west. I overestimated the number of gunshots (Ben, a more reliable narrator, said it was maybe 8 at most). While I was on the phone, we saw the first of the flashing lights coming from the east side.

crime scene

not newsworthy

Soon after this incident, an ambulance sped away from the scene. There were many police cars and the area was taped off for approximately 2.5 hours.

When things like this happen in the hood (Look, can I get over feeling bad about saying we live in “the hood” now? I always feel kind of bad about saying it and then I act like I’m nudge-nudge-wink-winking when I say we live in “the hood,” like yeah we’re from Chicago where you better recognize and it’s The Hood, but fucked if I’m not raising my toddler in a neighborhood where gunshots are spraying over streets I can see from my house and if I want to call this the hood I’m just going to do it and be okay with it) I go through the whole range of emotions. Ben and I had a fun night after we calmed down and Soren went to bed and we talked about how this shit fucking sucks. I’m mad. I’m mad at the assholes shooting guns anywhere but especially here and the fact that the world sucks so much this is what happens to people sometimes and that we don’t have wads of cash we can use to move somewhere this doesn’t happen all the time but won’t kill our edgy urban “we’re way too cool for the suburbs no really” spirit and that so many crimes in Denver go unsolved and apparently it’s unsafe for us to be out in our neighborhood at 8:30 in the evening and that it’s the fucking wild west out here where people act like it’s offensive to pay money for things like schools and the police and I’m powerless to do anything but shake my tiny fist at the raging injustice of the whole situation (Am I?) and I could go on and on but I’m pretty sure you get the point.

Aside from all that, do you want to know what really put my rage in high gear last night? The fact that I can’t find out what the hell happened.

I knew a shooting in the hood wasn’t likely to make the news, but I shuffled around the 10:00 news offerings last night anyway. I saw stories about a guy getting arrested on an airplane, a toddler drowning in Boulder (tragic), something about child abuse, Denver Broncos cheerleaders, and Texas wildfires. Of course there was nothing about a shooting in the hood. I knew this would be the case — I didn’t see any news teams near where the shooting occurred — but my stupid false hopes made me watch.

news in the 'hood


Today I looked around on the internet and found nothing. I @ed the Denver Police on Twitter (to their credit, they asked me the time and location of the incident I was asking about, and I assume and hope they’ll get back to me eventually).* There was nothing on the news and there is nothing on the internet about the shooting that occurred on April 9, 2011 around 8:30 p.m. in the area of Bruce Randolph and Franklin and/or Gilpin in the Cole neighborhood of Denver.

I know at least Fox 31 knows this neighborhood exists, because they were out here once when a tree landed on a fence during a storm. (To their credit and if I recall correctly, I’m pretty sure Fox 31 was the only outlet to even mention the last shooting that occurred in our neighborhood.)

What the fuck? It’s not just shootings in the hood. I think shootings anywhere in a city should be newsworthy. I’d like to know when shit like this happens in my neighborhood. I mean really, think of how many times this happens and we’re not home or awake and we never know about it. Apparently there was more gunfire around 5 this morning (according to a neighbor, it sounded like a war zone out there) but we slept through it. No one person can be all eyes and ears all the time. We need to have someone to rely on, to keep us informed.

As much as I love having something to rage and bitch about, I’d like to use my anger to do something useful. I’d like to help make this situation better, at least in terms of allowing people to be informed of what’s going on in their neighborhoods. My first idea was to contact local news media and ask why they don’t cover stories like this. But then I realized that they probably don’t give a shit about these stories (if they did, they’d be covering local crimes instead of wildfires in Texas) and maybe this is another indication that traditional news media are fading into oblivion before they die. And that’s fine.

This is the age of DIY. I think it’s up to us — the people — to figure out a way to take control of the information about what’s happening around us in our neighborhoods. There has to be a way for this to happen, whether it’s something sophisticated like a super-local, micro-news show or whether it’s something as simple as a website where people can post about news as it happens. Maybe this already exists and I haven’t found it — I’ll be looking over the next few days. If it doesn’t, we’ll have to figure it out.

Feel free to email me at fanmail at hitbyapitch.com if you want to get involved and/or have ideas. Or if you know what the hell happened in my neighborhood last night.

This is a good rage song:

*The Denver Police did get back to me: “a man was shot two times while driving in the 1600 block of E. Bruce Randolph. Victim is stable.” My thoughts are with the victim and his family. Now I’m wondering whether the shooter is someone from the 1600 block of E. Bruce Randolph.

Written by Tracy

April 10th, 2011 at 8:01 pm