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Denver PD says man's murder in La Alma-Lincoln Park neighborhood appears to be random

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Posted at 6:58 PM, Apr 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-04 17:57:30-04

DENVER — There are a lot of questions following the murder of a man in Denver’s La-Alma Lincoln Park neighborhood last week.

Denver police say the murder of Johnathan Douglas, 34, who everyone called JD, appears to be random.

Friends and loved ones are holding a celebration of life Monday evening to remember and raise money for funeral expenses.

“JD was just an amazing person,” Blake Blacksberg said.

His personality is what Blacksberg said he'll miss the most.

“[He was] always a jokester, always in a good mood. Always poking fun at anybody he possibly could and just the light of any room,” Blacksberg said.

Blacksberg created a GoFundMe when he learned his friend was murdered. Denver Police say Douglas was found dead on the sidewalk in front of his home around 7 a.m. last Tuesday.

"I saw him 12 hours before I found out. I just didn't believe it was real,” she said.

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Investigators arrested Stig Strong, 33, for investigation of first-degree murder, aggravated robbery, and second-degree burglary.

Evidence shows the suspect attacked Douglas and robbed him in front of his home on North Mariposa Street, then burglarized his house. Police found a car key, house key and cash on Strong during his arrest.

Douglas spent most of his time behind this bar at Zeppelin Station Food Hall in RiNo. He typically would be there on a Monday. His manager said his absence is a void that will never be filled.

Zeppelin Station Food Hall Manager Nick Yockey said Douglas worked as the front house manager and the bartender there for about three years.

“He was really close to everybody here. We were kind of a great community here at Zeppelin. Everybody's kind of family,” Yockey said.

Douglas' pictures and a donation jar now adorn the front of the bar to remember and honor him.

Denver PD says man's murder in La Alma-Lincoln Park neighborhood appears to be random

“Anything we can do to come together raise funds for funeral costs, memorial costs anything like that,” Yockey said.

Blacksberg said helping Douglas' family is the focus moving forward.

"I just want to make sure his family is taken care of before a take care of my own,” Blacksberg said.

A large turnout is expected at Monday's celebration of life, and anyone is welcome to attend.

Metro Denver Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,000 reward. They're looking for more witnesses who can help with the investigation. You can reach them at 720-913-7867.

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