DENVER – Denver Parks and Recreation closed La Alma Park and La Alma Recreation Center Thursday after a man whom police said was trying to break up a fight was shot and killed there Wednesday evening.
Cyndi Karvaski, a spokesperson for Denver Parks and Recreation, also cited other recent violence in the area as reason to close the park and rec center but did not provide specifics. She said the closure would be temporary and that both would reopen once they are "safe for everyone to use."
"The number one priority of Denver Parks and Recreation is the safety and well-being of our visitors and employees,” Karvaski said in an email. “DPR is coordinating with the Denver Police Department and other city agencies to increase our efforts in keeping our parks and recreation centers safe.”
The Denver Post first reported news of the park and rec center’s closures Thursday.
The closures come a day after a 63-year-old man was shot while trying to break up a fight, according to the Denver Police Department, at West 13th Avenue and North Osage Street, where the park is located. The shooting happened around 7:45 p.m. Wednesday.
The 63-year-old man, whom a family member identified Thursday as Gary Arellano, died after being taken to a hospital following the shooting, according to police. His identity has not yet been released by the Office of the Medical Examiner.
Denver police said Thursday they had arrested Trahavonie Deshawd Smith, 24, for investigation of first-degree murder in connection with the shooting.
Arellano’s family members said they planned to honor him with a balloon release Thursday evening.
This is a developing news story and will be updated.