DENVER — Denver city leaders are calling for action after five people were shot outside of a bar in Lower Downtown (LoDo) over the weekend.
“We have our work cut out for us,” said Denver City Councilman Chris Hinds.
Hinds acknowledges it won't be easy figuring out how to combat the ongoing crime in the neighborhood. However, it’s something he strives to achieve so people feel safe coming downtown.
"Saturday night, the events were tragic. Very unfortunate,” said Hinds.
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Police released still images from a surveillance camera on Monday that shows a woman pointing a gun in front of Dierks Bentley's Whiskey Row, located at 1946 Market Street. Police said five people were standing outside the bar when they were shot by the unidentified woman at approximately 11:14 p.m. Saturday.
After the shooting, officers, some of whom were working in an off-duty capacity in the area, quickly responded and located a total of five adult victims. Paramedics rushed the victims to the hospital with what police said were non-life-threatening injuries.
Police said that the female suspect was denied entry to the bar and began walking away but quickly returned to have another conversation with security staff. As the suspect walked away a second time, she produced a firearm and discharged it in the direction of the club multiple times, injuring the five victims whom police believe were not the intended targets.
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“More police downtown would help people realize they'll be held accountable should they choose to commit crimes. And that accountability and immediate accountability will help deter crime,” said Hinds.
Mayor Mike Johnston wants to spend $8.2 million to add 167 new police recruits, which he said will put the Denver Police Department on the path to meet its full authorized strength. However, Denver’s Executive Director of Safety Armando Saldate III doesn't believe additional patrols is the only answer.
"We're looking at obviously increased patrols, investigation around guns. We have continued efforts around limiting access to guns, having staffing, undercover officers in the area and types of patrols and security measures,” said Saldate.
Hinds proposed keeping bars open until 3 a.m. or 4 a.m., but cutting off alcohol at 2 a.m., in order to curb crime — a practice seen in Dallas.
"Sometimes they work out their energy and get sober before they're asked to leave,” said Hinds. "I want to make sure we have a welcoming city center. People want to come downtown and spend their money.”
As far as next steps, Saldate said he's working with the Denver Police Department to determine what can be done. That includes potentially adding other partners, like local businesses, and more.
Denver PD is still searching for the suspect in Saturday's shooting. Anyone with information is asked to call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867. Tipsters can remain anonymous and could earn $2,000.