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Weapons found during full-scale search of converted hotel shelter in Denver

The inspection comes after three people were shot at the former DoubleTree hotel in less than two weeks.
Former DoubleTree Hotel
Posted at 5:11 PM, Apr 04, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-04 19:30:01-04

DENVER — Denver officials confirmed weapons were found during a full-scale inspection of a converted hotel shelter that's been plagued with safety concerns.

Three people were shot at the former DoubleTree hotel in the city's Northeast Park Hill neighborhood in less than two weeks. On March 16, a man and woman were shot and killed inside one of the rooms. Twelve days later, a woman was found suffering from a gunshot wound in one of the rooms.

During Thursday's inspection, Denver police officers went door-to-door, searching each room for weapons and drugs. Derek Woodbury with the city's Department of Housing Stability (HOST) said the Salvation Army led the efforts.

In a statement, the Salvation Army said guests were notified several times of the inspections and agreed in writing to the room searches.

The Salvation Army takes the safety of its guests, staff, and neighbors very seriously. Keeping people safe is our chief concern. These comprehensive inspections were conducted with the utmost care to minimize disrupting guests’ day-to-day lives.

All guest rooms, commons areas, and campus grounds are being inspected for prohibited items, primarily weapons but also illegal substances. At the same time and throughout the day, Salvation Army staff, assisted by City of Denver behavioral health workers, have been talking with and assisting our guests through the process.

Furthermore, every guest was informed on multiple occasions prior to the inspections that these were imminent, and each guest agreed in writing to allow the room searches. Again, the reason for these inspections, which were conducted in partnership with the City of Denver, DPD, and the on-site security services staff, was to ensure the safety of our guests, our staff, and our community.

"There has been some understanding that this is coming. And we understand this as a big, heavy day for guests, as well as for our unhoused neighbors. And we do have behavioral health support staff here throughout the day assisting folks, meeting them where they are," said Woodbury.

Woodbury confirmed there were weapons found during their search but did not share details, including the number of weapons found.

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The city began increasing security at the shelter following the March 16 shooting, including adding cameras, security guards and implementing a badge system to monitor people coming in and out of the building. The Denver Police Department also increased its presence at the shelter.

"Safety is critical in all of our shelter environments, and we're always monitoring them very closely. And just due to, you know, recent events here at the DoubleTree, there was clearly a need to do a full search just to make sure that all the rules are being abided by, you know. From day one, weapons haven't been allowed on this property. So we're just taking steps now to help ensure that the rules are being met," Woodbury said.

Jesse Valdez has been staying at the shelter for about three months and witnessed both shootings. He said he was brought in after the encampment he was living in was cleaned up near 20th and Stout.

"I was really close with the lady," he said. "It was pretty depressing."

Valdez said the increased security measures have made him feel safer.

"Honestly, it's gonna help this shelter in the long run," he said.

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Weapons found during full-scale search of converted hotel shelter in Denver

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