DENVER - A shooting in downtown Denver amid fans celebrating the Nuggets’ first NBA championship victory was likely sparked by a drug deal gone wrong, police said Tuesday. The violence left 10 people wounded, including one of two suspected shooters.
All of the injured are expected to survive, including five or six people that police believe were bystanders not involved in the drug deal, Chief Ron Thomas said at a news conference. He said 20 rounds were fired at the scene, roughly a mile from Ball Arena, where the Nuggets defeated the Miami Heat on Monday night.
Police spokesperson Doug Schepman said the shooting was "in the area where we had the largest gathering of folks celebrating during the night," but the crowd had "diminished quite a bit at that point."
The gunfire broke out at around 12:30 a.m. — about 3 1/2 hours after the game — the Denver Police Department said in a statement.
Scott D’Angelo was livestreaming when he heard loud pops one after another, sparking pandemonium as people dove for cover or jumped over cement barricades. Police in riot gear ducked and scrambled to draw their guns while yelling for people to find shelter.
Crouching on the ground, the 58-year-old D’Angelo said his arms were shaking with nerves and he felt an asthma attack coming.
As officers started to move toward the gunfire, D’Angelo heard a female voice not a dozen feet (3 meters) away "screaming out in pain." Another victim lay just beyond the first, D’Angelo said, as officers rushed to provide care.
The shooting ended after roughly 20 seconds, he said after consulting his footage, which he has handed over to law enforcement. As ambulances arrived, D’Angelo saw a long trail of blood from a victim who must have been "profusely bleeding," then he saw bullet casings only feet from where he had dropped to the ground.
The gunfire broke out in downtown Denver’s LoDo district, which is known for its restaurants and nightlife. Yellow police tape sealed off the area overnight Tuesday as investigators scoured the scene, which was dotted with evidence markers and what appeared to be detritus left over from the celebrations, including an e-scooter and a green rental bike.
D’Angelo said he felt "kind of numb" after witnessing the violence.
"To target somebody, and indiscriminately shoot innocent bystanders, even trying to think about it, it’s like — I have a huge emotional, a lot of feelings that I really can’t explain," he said.
The story has been updated to correct that suspect was one of 10 people shot at scene, according to police.