Investigators identify the man killed in a shootout in LoDo

Police: More than 100 rounds fired in shooting
Posted at 3:34 PM, Aug 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-03 09:42:46-04

DENVER, Colo. – Investigators now say that 100 gunshots were exchanged during an early morning gun battle between gang members in LoDo Saturday morning.

The shootout occurred just after midnight in a parking lot on the 1800 block of Market Street.

Police say one person was killed and another was injured.

The Denver Coroner identified the victim, as Gailen Armstrong, age 20.

Armstrong was a father.

A photo on Facebook shows his 5 month old son at a candlelight vigil Sunday evening.

“My heart certainly goes out to the Armstrong family,” said Rev. Leon Kelly, of Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives.

Kelly, who has worked for 30 years to keep kids out of gangs, said Armstrong “just wanted to have a life.  He wanted to grow up.”

Kelly said the shooting is “nothing new.”

He said at least three young men of color have been killed by gun violence over the last three or four weeks.

“The emotions that are going back and forth now are extremely high,” he said. “Emotions are festering.”

“Many of these kids feel that they have to protect themselves,” Kelly said. “They don’t believe the system, police and others, are there to protect them.”

Witnesses hear multiple shots

Numerous people who were out enjoying a night on the town heard the gunshots.

“We were out in the courtyard (at Beta Nightclub) when we heard the gunshots,” Zach Overton told Denver7. “The security guards asked us to get down or go into the building.”

Tiffany Meador said she was in a Pedi-cab which had just turned onto 19th Street when the shots rang out.

“Our Pedi-cab driver just said, ‘It’s fireworks,’” she said, “but it just kept going on and on, and it sounded like different pitches from different areas.”

Police said multiple guns were involved.

So far, no arrests have been made.

Kelly takes loss of life personally

Kelly, who has kept many kids out of gangs, takes it personally when a young adult is lost to gang violence.

Kelly told Denver7 that this shooting is news because it happened in busy LoDo, a part of town that has undergone rapid gentrification.

“Can you imagine if any of the kids that died (over the last three weeks) were white,” he asked. “We would have people coming out of the woodwork, standing on soapboxes, saying ‘we’re not going to tolerate this type of violence in our community.’”

The anti-gang activist told Denver7 that he has kept a list of young men who died from gang-related gun violence.

He said he’s been adding names to that list for 30 years.

“There are 1,144 names on that list now,” he said.