AP

Police: 5 killed, including gunman, in Denver area shootings

Dec 27, 2021, 10:05 PM | Updated: Dec 28, 2021, 4:35 pm
A police vehicle passes through the intersection of Alaska Drive and Vance Street past sheets of pl...
A police vehicle passes through the intersection of Alaska Drive and Vance Street past sheets of plywood covering windows of a pizza parlor Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, in Lakewood, Colo., near one of the scenes of a shooting spree that left several people dead—including the suspected shooter Monday evening—and left a few more people wounded. The spree spread from the core of Denver to the western suburb of Lakewood where the suspect was shot and killed by police near a busy intersection in a bustling shopping district. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER (AP) — Police were investigating Tuesday after a gunman went on a shooting rampage through several business districts in and around Denver, killing four people and wounding three others, including an officer as police pursued him.

The suspect also died Monday night after exchanging gunfire with officers in a shopping area in the Denver suburb of Lakewood, police said.

Police said they were still investigating what led to the shootings.

“We need to dig in and find out what the motive was behind this,” Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said at a news conference.

The shootings started shortly after 5 p.m. in central Denver along Broadway, a busy street lined with shops, bars and restaurants, where two women were killed and a man was injured, Pazen said. On Tuesday, candles and flower bouquets rested in the doorway of a nearby tattoo shop.

A short time later, a man was fatally shot in another location, Pazen said. Gunshots were also fired along another busy street near Denver Health hospital, but no one was injured.

Later, Denver police chased the vehicle believed to have been involved in the shootings and exchanged gunfire with the person inside, but the suspect was able to get away after “disabling” the police car, Pazen said. The suspect then fled into Lakewood.

Just before 6 p.m., the Lakewood Police Department received a report of shots fired at a business in the city, said John Romero, a spokesman for that department.

A gunshot victim was later found and pronounced dead at the scene.

When officers found the car suspected of being involved in the Belmar shopping area, the suspect opened fire and officers shot back. The suspect ran away and allegedly threatened someone in a business with a gun before going into a Hyatt hotel and shooting a clerk, who was taken to the hospital, Romero said. The hotel clerk’s condition was not known.

The suspect also shot and wounded a Lakewood police officer after leaving the hotel, Romero said. Police and the suspect then exchanged gunfire, and the suspect died. It was not immediately clear if police officers had shot him.

The wounded officer underwent surgery Monday night, and his condition was not immediately known.

“This one individual was responsible for this very violent crime spree that took place this evening,” Pazen said.

On Tuesday, in Lakewood’s Belmar shopping district, where shops line sidewalks in a modern version of a downtown, plywood covered some of the windows of a wood-fired pizza restaurant where workers were cleaning up inside. Investigators also were checking the aluminum window frame of a store for bullet holes. Nearby on the street, which was decorated with large, silver holiday ornaments, sat an older two-door Honda Civic with a bullet through the hood and a flat front tire.

Family members identified one of the victims Tuesday as Alicia Cardenas, 44, who was killed in the initial shooting.

Alfredo Cardenas told KMGH-TV that Alicia Cardenas, his only daughter, owned her first tattoo shop when she was 19 and had worked in the Broadway location in Denver for 15 to 20 years.

“Very gregarious, very friendly, but she was a very determined person,” he said. “She knew where she was going.”

Alicia Cardenas is survived by her 12-year-old, Alfredo Cardenas said.

Police have not released the names of the suspect or the victims.

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Police: 5 killed, including gunman, in Denver area shootings