Denver increasing security at hotel shelter after double homicide

Residents share concerns about safety, drug use at the hotel shelter
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Posted at 5:36 PM, Mar 18, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-18 19:41:15-04

DENVER — The city is increasing security at a homeless hotel shelter that was the scene of a double homicide on Saturday, the mayor’s office announced.

It comes as police continue to investigate the crime and as shelter residents share concerns about safety at the former DoubleTree hotel at 40th and Quebec.

The hotel was converted into a homeless shelter as part of Mayor Mike Johnston’s homelessness initiative last year.

Denver7 spoke with several people who were staying at the hotel shelter on Monday.

They all said drug use was common there and some said they have seen several people overdose.

“There have been a lot of deaths here since I’ve been here,” said Jeremy Page, who said he was staying at the hotel with a friend.

They also said they worry about becoming victims of crime.

“It’s just hard to tell the difference between the good people and the bad people until it’s too late,” said Page.

One man, who didn’t want to be identified, said he felt safer on the streets than living at the hotel shelter.

According to the city, since the beginning of the year, there have been 414 calls for service at the address.

Denver increasing security as hotel shelter, which was scene of a double homicide

Another shelter resident, who also didn’t want to be identified, said the female homicide victim was a friend of his.

“She was a beautiful woman, and she was a force to be reckoned with. Just her presence was amazing,” he said.

Page said he also saw the woman from time to time at the shelter.

“I would just see her in the hallways every once in a while, smoking cigarettes. She always seemed happy. She never had a negative thing to say,” said Page.

Residents said the man and woman were a couple.

Denver Police declined to release the police reports since it’s an active investigation.

Craig Arfsten with Citizens for a Safe and Clean Denver has spent a lot of time tracking safety issues in and around the city’s shelters.

“I think it's horrific what's allowed to happen in the shelters,” said Arfsten. “The people in here need help and they need a safe place to live.”

Arfsten was able to walk around inside the hotel shelter on Monday.

He said no one bothered to stop him.

“I really think that these shelters should be run a lot better than they are currently today,” said Arfsten.

Johnston’s office said the city began increasing security at the hotel shelter on Monday, including adding more security guards and cameras.

The city also increased police patrols around the hotel shelter and was in the process of installing a badging system for staff and residents to access the site.

In addition, the mayor’s office said Cole Chandler, the mayor’s homeless czar, would take a hands-on leadership role at the hotel shelter.

Denver Police urge anyone with information about the double homicide to call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP.

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