Two teens charged as adults in connection to Denver house fire that killed Senegalese family

Prosecutors seeking to transfer 15-year-old's case to District Court
kevin bui and gavin seymour_green valley ranch fire.jpg
Deadly Denver house fire_Aug 5 2020
Posted at 12:02 PM, Feb 02, 2021

DENVER — Two 16-year-olds have been charged as adults in the case of a house fire in a Denver neighborhood that killed five members of a Senegalese family in August.

According to court records, Kevin Bui, 16, and Gavin Seymour, 16, have both been charged as adults.

Bui faces 46 felony counts, including five counts of first-degree murder after deliberation, five counts of first-degree murder--extreme indifference, five counts of felony murder, multiple counts of attempted murder, first-degree assault with a deadly weapon, first-degree arson, burglary and conspiracy.

Bui also faces 14 potential sentence enhancers for using a weapon or causing death or serious bodily injury in the commission of a violent crime if he is convicted.

The records show the charges were filed in Denver District Court on Monday. Court records did not identify upcoming court dates for the two teenagers charged as adults.

The Denver District Attorney’s Office formally announced the adult charges for Bui and Seymour Tuesday afternoon. According to the DA’s office, Seymour will also face the same 60 counts as Bui. Court records earlier in the day only showed a single first-degree murder count.

Carolyn Tyler, a spokesperson for the district attorney’s office, said the office was requesting that the 15-year-old’s case be transferred from juvenile court to the Denver District Court.

Tyler said the 15-year-old is charged with 47 counts, including first-degree murder, attempted murder, first- and second-degree assault, arson, burglary and conspiracy as well.

The arrest affidavits for all three teenagers remain sealed as of Monday afternoon.

Members of the family killed in the fire and of the Senegalese community met with prosecutors on Sunday and discussed the possibility that two of the suspects would be charged as adults, though no final decision was discussed with the family.

The teenagers were arrested Wednesday, almost half a year after the house fire in Denver's Green Valley Ranch neighborhood.

In addition, a 23-year-old woman named Tanya Bui is being investigated in connection to the fire. She was arrested Friday on federal drug and weapons charges. According to an arrest affidavit, she was paying for a cell phone that belonged to a suspect in the arson investigation who had the initials KB.

The fire started in the early morning hours of Aug. 5, 2020 along the 5300 block of N. Truckee Street. Djibril and Adja Diol, their 2-year-old daughter Khadija, Hassan Diol and her infant daughter, Hawa Baye, were all killed in the blaze. The family had immigrated to the area from Senegal.

Diol Family

The same day as the fire, authorities said they suspected arson and by September, they had focused their efforts on identifying three masked people caught on surveillance footage in the area at the time.

As the months ticked by, authorities increased the reward for information to $50,000 in November.

Investigators in August 2020 released pictures of three people wearing full face masks and dark hoodies, and pictures of a dark-colored four-door sedan, that they say are connected to the investigation into a suspected arson that killed five people from a Senegalese family earlier that month.

During a press conference following the teenagers' arrests, Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said the department believes the three teens are responsible for the crime but he could not provide much other information in order to "protect the integrity of the case" since detectives are still investigating. He said they do not believe this was a “bias-motivated crime.”

Crews tore down the home in the 5300 block of N Truckee Street where they fire occurred on Tuesday after the adult charges were announced.

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Crews tore down the home in the 5300 block of N Truckee Street, where five people were killed in a fire that is suspected arson last August, on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021 — the same day prosecutors announced two juveniles would face adult charges in the case.