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Two teens, 16, arrested in shooting near Carla Madison Rec Center that injured man, teen

shooting outside carla madison rec center sept 7 2022.jpg
Posted at 2:26 PM, Sep 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-15 19:54:03-04

DENVER — Police arrested two 16-year-old boys Wednesday night in connection with the shooting of a man and an East High School student last week outside the Carla Madison Recreation Center in Denver.

One of the juveniles is being held for investigation of two counts of attempted murder and the second is being held for investigation of being an accessory to the crime, according to Denver police. Their identities are being withheld because they are juveniles, the department said.

The shooting happened around 4:15 p.m. on Sept. 7 just outside of the rec center near the intersection of East Colfax Avenue and Josephine Street.

A 20-year-old man was injured in the shooting, as was 14-year-old RJ Harding, an East High School student who police said was an innocent bystander, was also injured.

'Hasn't broken my son's spirit': Family of teen injured in shooting outside Denver rec. center speaks out

His family told Denver7 this week Harding was shot in the face. Denver police said Thursday he remains hospitalized, while the 20-year-old man was released from the hospital.

Denver police said Thursday that investigators believe the shooting stemmed from an altercation between the two juveniles who were arrested and the 20-year-old man who was shot. Harding, whom police have not identified in their news releases, was in the area and was shot but was not involved in the altercation, police said.

"No matter how hard you try to project your kids, you never know what's going to happen," said Brionna Harding, RJ's mother, earlier this week. "I can say I'm very hurt."

She said her son had grabbed some snacks from the nearby 7-Eleven and was waiting for his mother to pick him up. He was walking with his girlfriend when he was hit, his mother said.

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RJ Harding seen in a family photo. His mother, Brionna Harding, said her son loves boxing, and spending time with his sisters.

She said he has already had two surgeries to remove bullets and fragments and has another scheduled for next week to reconstruct his jaw.

Brionna Harding said the shooting has not broken RJ’s spirit, however.

“He’s a boxer and he still wants to box. He still wants to come to this same school,” she told Denver7.

After the shooting, witness Shellie Martinez recounted helping put pressure on Harding’s wounds along with a doctor who happened to be at the scene. Martinez was able to meet up with Brionna Harding at a prayer vigil held Tuesday.

RJ Harding wrote a thank you note for Martinez which said, "Dear Mrs. Martinez, thank you so much for saving my life, I appreciate you. I want to pay you back in every way I can. You did so much for me, I'm so grateful you were there. You're my guardian angel. God bless you."