DENVER, Colorado — Grieving family members in Thornton want to know what led to a shooting in broad daylight that left them without one of their loved ones.

Family identified 36-year-old David Barela as the victim of the shooting that happened Friday afternoon near City Park in Denver.

Denver Police were called to the area near East 21st Avenue and York Street about 4 p.m. Friday.

In tweets sent Friday afternoon, Denver Police said the victim was taken the hospital where he was later pronounced dead. The department tweeted, “circumstances and suspect info are under investigation.”

Barela’s family spoke to 9NEWS Monday afternoon in hopes of drawing attention to the case.

Scrolling through photos on their phones, family members shared memories of the man they described as “the rock” and “light” in their lives.

“David was a very outgoing person,” said Karen Barela, David Barela’s mother. “He had a beautiful smile. He would light up the room.”

Karen Barela said she last spoke to her son on Sept. 11 after a family birthday party. She said she's grateful for the hug they shared before her son left.

Jen Ortega, David Barela’s wife, said she and her husband had lunch together Friday afternoon in Thornton. David Barela left for Denver to start his shift driving and delivering food for an on-demand food delivery company.

“I just know he was on his way to work,” Ortega recalled.

She never heard from her husband again.

“I feel like my whole world shattered in two pieces,” Ortega said.

Ortega and Barela’s daughter, Marisol, 17, described her dad as the guy who tried to lift the spirits of everyone around him.

David Barela
David Barela

“He made sure I was the happiest and my mom was the happiest even when he was feeling his lowest,” she said.

Tears streamed from the teen’s face as she talked about losing her dad.

“I’m never going to see my daddy again. He got shot and killed by who knows who and for whatever reason,” she said.

A spokesman for Denver Police did not have any new information on the case Monday afternoon.

David Barela’s family said he did not have life insurance. The family created a GoFundMe in hopes of raising money for Barela's burial and funeral service.

Metro Denver Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,000 reward for information that could lead to an arrest in Barela's death. Anonymous tips can be sent by calling 720-913-STOP. The tip line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

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