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Family remembers victim killed at American Elm

Emerall Vaughn-Dahler, 34, was one of two victims shot to death at the restaurant in northwest Denver on Monday afternoon.

ARVADA, Colo. — Family members shared more information about the victims killed at a northwest Denver restaurant this week.

Emerall Vaughn-Dahler, 34, and Ignacio Gutierrez-Morales, 58, were both shot and killed at American Elm, according to the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner. Denver Police have released very little information and made no arrests so far in the case.

“I’m just angry,” said Danica Woolard, one of Vaughn-Dahler’s sisters. “I just can’t wrap my head around why it happened, and to her of all people. Because of how selfless and genuine she was. She’s the last person that ever deserved something like this.”

Family members said Emerall worked as the general manager at American Elm, and spent many years in the hospitality business.

“Meant to serve. Did that to everybody, every day,” added sister Erin Bullinger. “Being a mom was her favorite thing, but she was a mom to everybody.”

Family members said Vaughn-Dahler was a mother to 12-year-old Michael, and married her husband, Andrew, in 2018. Work friends also described her as a caretaker.

On Thursday, New Image Brewing Company posted a tribute to Emerall on Facebook, saying she previously worked there as the taproom’s general manager, too.

This is a post that I wish, with every fiber of my being, I didn’t have to write. Earlier this week, one of our own,...

Posted by New Image Brewing Company on Thursday, April 27, 2023

The brewery hosting a gathering and benefit in honor of Vaughn-Dahler on Monday night.

There are several ongoing efforts to raise money for the victims’ families, including a GoFundMe fundraiser and a college expense fundraiser for Emerall’s son, started by a local Elks Lodge.

“They have families, they had lives, they were loved by all and it's just not fair,” Bullinger said. “This violence shouldn’t have happened.”

“Living with what happened to her every day is going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Woolard said. “But it will be harder if she doesn’t get justice. That’s all we want – for who[ever] did this to be caught, and punished, for taking the most beautiful person I’ve ever known away from me.”

Police are asking anybody with information about this case to contact Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867. 

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