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East Colfax community demands public safety changes after woman killed by stray bullet

Ma Kaing was known by nearly everyone around New Freedom Park, and now the community wants accountability from police and 911 dispatchers.

DENVER — Crimestoppers is now offering $10,000 for information about the death of Ma Kaing, a 42-year-old community leader who witnesses say was killed by a stray bullet just outside her home in East Denver on Friday night, July 15. 

While friends and loved ones want for justice in Kaing's death, they are also calling for accountability from public safety officials. 

“Everyone deserves a safe place to call home and the resources they need to thrive," said Sharon Knight,  the president and CEO of Hope Communities

Kaing lived in the Hidden Brook Apartments, an affordable housing complex run by Hope Communities with a large refugee population. 

RELATED: Neighborhood leader killed in Denver shooting

She came to Denver as a refugee from Burma more than a decade ago. 

"There was four of us," said Kaing's son, Kyaw Lwin Oo. "I would have been five. I had an older sister murdered back in Thailand so there's a lot of trauma back there." 

Oo, who goes by John, couldn't escape the trauma here. 

On Friday night, he had been helping his mom at her restaurant, and when they got home and were unloading the car, he said she was shot from a bullet that came from New Freedom Park across the street. 

"As neighbors called the cops as I was holding my mother's body, I saw her eyes I saw her last breath, everything," said Oo. "As I yelled for my mother not to die, she was going to die. When somebody's calling, saying my mother got shot in the head, nobody on the other f------ line should say, let me change you to a different line, or let me dispatch you to a different department because you're in the f------ wrong department. Nobody should be hearing those f------ words." 

Several people at a community meeting hosted in the basement of the apartment complex Wednesday said they heard that same message when they called 911.

"The way 911 calls are routed using the old technology is based on the address of the nearest cell tower when you call 911," said Andrew Dameron, the director of 911 Denver. 

Since Denver's East Colfax neighborhood is so close to Aurora, the nearest cell tower for some providers could be Aurora. 

Kaing's son and other community members also called on police to help keep them safer from gun violence, especially the violence they say happens on the weekends at New Freedom Park. 

"It’s a killing ground for gang members to come there, smoke, drink have fights over there," said Oo. "And they wouldn’t take that to their communities." 

The basement at Hidden Brook Apartments will fill up once again next week as they meet with police and others to continue the conversation about way to make their community safer. 

WATCH: Denver city councilwoman Amanda Sawyer scolds East Colfax community during safety meeting

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