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Indigenous community honors five victims from Denver and Lakewood shooting spree

Loved ones of the five killed on December 27th gathered for a ceremony and celebration at Sol Tribe Tattoos and Piercings. The first stop of the shooting spree.

DENVER — A community is left shaken yet resilient after five people were killed in a recent deadly crime spree across Denver and Lakewood.

They gathered to celebrate the lives of those lost on December 27th, a hotel clerk, tattoo shop artists and a man who lived near Cheeseman Park.

"May our broken hearts now be open hearts,” said one of the organizers.

Hundreds were welcomed to a celebration and ceremony of the indigenous people.

"White supremacy will not win. Hatred will not win. Because we will not allow it,” said a friend of the Sol Tribe victims, Lady Speech Sankofa.

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A place to mourn, honor and remember the lives lost; Alicia Cardenas, Danny Scofield, Sarah Steck, Alyssa Gunn-Maldonado and Michael Swinyard.

Celebrating them through prayers, cleansing and smudging.

"Alicia, Alyssa, and Jimmy are my family. My closest people. My mentors, my friends, my siblings, my teammates," said Sol Tribe Tattooing and Piercings Manager Casey Kosch. "Dano is my body modification community. Sarah and Michael are my Denver community. And all these people are my fellow humans.”

Alicia and Alyssa at Sol Tribe Tattoos and Piercings on Broadway. The first stop in a deadly shooting spree.

"I work here. Sol Tribe is my home. Alicia chose to teach me 11 and a half years ago,” said Hosch.

One thing owner Alicia Cardenas taught Casey is always to be a student.

"Forever learning that phrase is always in my mind and resonating even harder since December 27th,” Kosch said.

Since that day, Alyssa's husband, Jimmy Maldonado, has been healing in the hospital. He made it to Saturday’s ceremony and performed in his wife’s honor until he couldn’t anymore.

"Thank you, Jimmy, for surviving,” said one of the organizers.

Now his grief and recovery begin without his wife.

"Take your grief and walk with it, run with it,” Sankofa said.

Credit: 9News

But the purpose of these artists will one day again become the focus once again.

"Collectively we all want to get back to Alicia's mission and that's serving and healing the community through the bodywork that we do,” Kosch said.

"Today we close with love. This is our house. We take it back today,” Sankofa said.

Lakewood Police Officer Ashley Ferris, who shot and killed the suspect, was released from the hospital Thursday evening. The gunman shot her then she returned fire.

Police said the suspect Lyndon Mcleod was on their radar and the FBI. In a statement Tuesday, Denver Police said, "DPD is reviewing the investigation, but based on our initial review, there was not sufficient evidence to file criminal charges or a legal basis for monitoring McLeod at the time."

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