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Suspect charged as adult in fatal shooting of teen at Denver Skatepark

Juan Herrera-Lozano, 16, was killed in April. The DA's Office said Tuesday that the 16-year-old suspect will face charges as an adult.

DENVER — A 16-year-old arrested in the fatal shooting of a teen in April at the Denver Skatepark has been charged as an adult in the case, the District Attorney's Office said on Tuesday.

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Juan Herrera-Lozano, 16, died April 23 at the skatepark at 2205 19th St. in Lower Downtown. Officers who responded found him lying in the street, suffering from a gunshot wound. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The suspect, Owen Darian Ruiz, 16, has been in custody since June 14 at the Platte Valley Youth Services Facility in Greeley for a parole violation on an unrelated conviction in Adams County. In the fatal shooting of Herrera-Lozano, he is charged with:

  • First-degree murder after deliberation
  • First-degree murder with extreme indifference
  • Possession of a weapon by a previous offender
  • Destroying or tampering with physical evidence
  • Misdemeanor prohibited use of a weapon
  • Misdemeanor possession of a handgun as a juvenile

In surveillance video of the skatepark shooting released by Denver Police, Herrera-Lozano can be seen crossing the street and speaking with people inside a dark-colored sedan. Herrera-Lozano begins running from the vehicle. Someone in the car then fires a gun, hitting and killing Herrera-Lozano.

Denver Police found six fired cartridges in the street, according to the arrest affidavit.

Speaking through a translator days after the shooting, Herrera-Lozano's father, Domingo Herrera, said, "He thought it was his friends, so that's why he approached the car, and when he realized it wasn't his friends he walked away, and that's when it happened."

>Below: Watch the Spanish-language interview with Herrera-Lozano's parents:

The affidavit says that the suspect vehicle was a rental car and that the person who rented it on April 20 – whose name was redacted in the affidavit – told police he was in the passenger seat when the driver took him and three others to the skatepark.

He told investigators that a man in the backseat fired the gun and then got back into the car before they drove away. He said the man who fired the shots was wearing an ankle monitor, the affidavit says.

Other witnesses who were in the vehicle identified Ruiz as the shooter and said they heard him say "There he goes" and that he asked Herrera-Lozano, "Do you remember me?" before shooting him, according to the affidavit.

Investigators found by tracking ankle monitor data that Ruiz was at the skatepark at the time of the murder. They also found that Thornton Police talked to Ruiz after shots were fired April 21 at an apartment building on Pearl Street.

Denver investigators said that the same gun that fired the shots in Thornton was also used in the Denver shooting. The gun was recovered May 17 in the same room of an apartment where Thornton Police contacted Ruiz as part of their investigation into that incident, the affidavit says.

Ruiz is next due in Denver District Court for an advisement on Dec. 15.

Credit: Denver District Attorney's Office
Owen Darian Ruiz

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