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Family urges Denver DA to drop murder charge against man accused of fatally shooting brothers on I-25

Stephan Long's family argues he acted in self-defense when he shot two men on Interstate 25 during an alleged road rage incident last summer.
Family urges Denver DA to drop murder charge against suspect who allegedly shot and killed two men on I-25
Posted at 10:55 PM, May 16, 2024

DENVER — The family of the man accused of fatally shooting two brothers in June 2023 during an alleged road rage incident is urging the Denver district attorney to drop the remaining first-degree murder charge against him.

Just before 3 p.m. on June 13, 2023, Denver police responded to the northbound lanes of Interstate 25 between W. 6th Avenue and W. 8th Avenue. The first officer to arrive at the scene found a man lying in the road on the off-ramp with severe head trauma, according to the probable cause statement. The man was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced deceased at 4:22 p.m.

The officer found a second victim on northbound I-25 under W. 6th Avenue. That man had several gunshot wounds. He was pronounced deceased at the scene at 3:10 p.m., according to the probable cause statement.

The victims were identified as Blake Lucas, 21, and Damon Lucas, 22, by their family on June 15. They said the brothers were on their way to a job interview. Their deaths were ruled a homicide by the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner on June 15.

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According to a probable cause statement, Stephan Long, 26, told investigators he was driving northbound on I-25 when the occupants of a vehicle driving alongside him began yelling at him. The other vehicle allegedly pulled in front of Long and cut him off.

Not long after, the passenger in the other vehicle allegedly exited the car and approached Long's car. The passenger began "grabbing and hitting" Long through his open driver's window, Long told investigators. Long said he grabbed his handgun and shot the passenger who was reaching through his window.

Long told investigators he tried to drive away but the driver of the other vehicle exited their car and approached him. Long reportedly began to drive away but the driver apparently clung to the open window while the car was moving. Long said he shot the driver when he exited the highway.

The probable cause statement concludes by saying, in part, "The suspect also fled the scene and did not call 911 about this incident. The suspect was not injured and did not have any visible injuries."

Long was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the shooting. One of those charges was dropped in October 2023.

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Long's family and the Denver Justice Project gathered Thursday afternoon to drop off around 500 letters urging Denver District Attorney Beth McCann to drop the remaining first-degree murder charge. The letters were signed by different community members and organizations.

“My son was viciously attacked on the highway," said Stephanie Clifton, Long's mother. “He defended himself. He never left his vehicle. There was no road rage at all.”

Clifton said her son was incarcerated until October and has since been under house arrest.

“He can't go to the doctor, he can't go to the dentist. He can't work," Clifton said of her son. “I'm going to continue fighting for my son. I'm going to continue voicing my opinion. I'm going to continue being out here in the community.”

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Those with the Denver Justice Project said the letters will be given to the DA on Friday morning.

“She did drop one charge, so we believe that there is hope that she will do the right thing and drop the other one," Clifton said. “He's a father. He's a son. He's a nephew. He's a grandson. He's a provider. He's a wonderful person. A good heart.”

The Lucas family, however, disagrees. In a statement, Amber Rivera, the mother of Damon and Blake, said she does not believe Long's side of the story and hopes "the courts and jury convict Stephan for the murder of my son Damon."

No matter how much time has passed, I still feel like it's the first day. Stephan Long took more than just my sons from us. He took the oldest two children out of nine, that was who they went to when they needed someone. He took half of my world from me, my best friends. Half the reason I breathe and I haven't been able to take a breath in 11 months. I've been a single mom for 10 years, so he also took the "father figures" I didn't realize helped me so much.

The outcome could have been 100% different, if Stephan had any kind of gun training. The first thing you learn is how to react in difficult situations. I don't believe his side of the story on what happened, but my sons had gun training. All he had to say is four words, "I have a gun", and none of this would have happened.

It's my hope that the courts and jury convict Stephan for the murder of my son Damon. I want him to go to jail for what he took from us.
Amber Rivera, Mother of Damon and Blake Lucas

Long is scheduled for a motions hearing at 8:30 a.m. on Friday morning. His family hopes they will receive an answer about the remaining first-degree murder charge.


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