Alicia Cardenas, a tattoo artist who was killed in the Denver shooting spree Monday evening, was identified by her father Alfredo Cardenas as one of the five victims of the tragic event. Following a rampage by an unknown gunman, five people were left dead, including the suspect, with several others wounded.
Running the Sol Tribe Custom Tattoo and Body Piercing shop on 1st and Broadway, Alicia Cardenas was also an Indigenous activist in Denver. She was survived by her father, Alfredo, and her 12-year-old child.
“She was someone who taught and mentored so many artists in this town and a lover of art and a supporter of people living in their creative self-expression,” said friend and activist Jeff Campbell. “She was as authentic as it can be.”
The other victims’ names and the shooting suspect’s name have yet to be released by authorities, though it was confirmed that the gunman was shot and killed in a police shootout. A motive for the shooting spree has also not been identified by police, as investigators try to piece together just what happened in the neighborhood of Lakewood, Co., late Monday night.
Allegedly opening fire at around 5 p.m. in Denver, the gunman killed two unidentified women and injured one man, walking on First Avenue and Broadway in Denver’s busy downtown area.
Police Chief Paul Pazen detailed that a fourth person was shot and killed several blocks away at 12th Avenue and Williams Street near Chessman Park, before the gunman moved on, shooting erratically.
The third shooting took place near Capitol Hill and the Denver Health Emergency Department by Sixth Avenue and Cherokee Street, though there were no reported injuries at the scene. Denver Police arrived after reports of gunshots and tracked the shooter’s location, resulting in an exchange of gunfire.
Authorities then followed the suspect in his vehicle in a quick car chase where he fled to Lakewood. Police in Lakewood were called in for backup after there were reports of more shots fired on Kipling Street just before 6 p.m. A person who was shot was later reported dead at the scene, according to Lakewood Police spokesman John Romero, and is the last death reported by police at this time.
“We have every reason to believe that several instances in Denver are connected, that happened before our incidents here in Lakewood,” Romero announced at the time.
After another shootout with authorities, the suspect continued to flee into a Belmar shopping district where they threatened business owners and took cover at the nearby Hyatt Place hotel. Firing and wounding a Lakewood police officer, the gunman became exposed and died in the eventual shootout with authorities.
The suspect’s name has not yet been revealed to the public and no motive is known for Monday night’s Denver shooting spree.
“We still have a lot of details that we’re sorting out at this point,” Lakewood police spokesman John Romero said in a press conference late Monday night. “We just ask everybody in the community for their thoughts and prayers for that agent and their family.”
The officer shot during the exchange was undergoing surgery in the hospital late Monday night. Reports on the officer’s condition have not been updated as of Tuesday morning. It is also unknown how many others were injured at this time, or if their conditions are critical.
Police Chief Paul Pazen later confirmed that, “As far as what started [the shooting spree], that is part of the investigation. We need to really dig in and find out what the motivation behind this was.”
As the gunman threatened businesses in Lakewood, SWAT teams tried to help people evacuate safely. Lili Gilbert, an 18-year-old employee of a Nordstrom Rack store near where shooting occurred, told USA Today that customers and workers huddled together in the back of the store for hours as police told people to lock their doors.
Gilbert said she and other customers saw a man’s body lying on the ground outside the store near the Hyatt Place hotel when they finally left the store at 10:30 p.m., but they were not sure if it was the suspect.
“I was freaked out because the body was right there,” she said.
The Monday night shooting spree was the 13th mass shooting in Colorado this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. It was also the 675th shooting mass shooting in the United States in 2021 alone that left four or more people dead or injured.