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1 man shot and killed in southeast Denver, 23-year-old man arrested

Carl Kern was found shot at an apartment complex off of East Dartmouth Avenue and later died at Swedish Medical Center.

DENVER — Denver police have arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the shooting death of a 36-year-old man on May 7.

According to a Denver Police (DPD) probable cause for arrest (PC) statement, officers were called to Pembrooke on the Green apartments, located in the 10700 block of East Dartmouth Avenue, after getting a 911 call that a drunk person was yelling at children and naked from the waist down. When officers arrived they found a man, later identified as 36-year-old Carl Kern, laying in a grassy area near one of the apartment buildings. Kern had a puncture wound to his chest and was taken to Swedish Medical Center for treatment, the PC statement says.

Once at Swedish, an x-ray showed that Kern had been shot and that the bullet was still inside his body, the PC statement reads. Kern was rushed into surgery, but he was pronounced dead, according to the PC statement.

Credit: Denver Police
Carl Kern was shot and killed on May 7 in southeast Denver.

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Investigating officers canvassed the apartments and found a witness who told police that he returned to his unit from walking his dog at around 7:20 a.m., according to the PC statement. The witness heard a disturbance and what he thought was a woman's voice say, "don't do that <expletive>," the PC statement says. The witness then heard pounding and kicking on a door and then heard one pop, which sounded like a gunshot to the witness, according to the PC statement. The witness said he waited for about 15 seconds to make sure there weren't any other gunshots before he opened his door, the PC statement says. After he opened his door, the witness said he saw the victim standing in the building's foyer holding his side and breathing laboriously, according to the PC statement. The witness told police the victim had to come from one of the garden-level apartments, according to the statement.

Officers contacted Jeremy Polito, 23, who lived in one of the garden-level apartments, the PC statement says. Polito gave police a written statement, which was redacted in the PC statement. While inside Polito's apartment, a DPD officer saw a clear bag in plain view on the couch which appeared to contain various types of spent rifle cartridge cases, the PC statement says. Another officer said she noticed a foil, packaging for narcotics as well as a cannister that she believed was nitrous oxide or some other gaseous material, according to the PC statement. Officers also saw a camera inside the apartment on a wall pointed at the front door, the PC statement says.

Investigators obtained and served a search warrant for Polito's apartment on the night of May 7, the PC statement says. During their search, police found a Smith & Wesson .38 special revolver rolled up in a sleeping bag inside the bedroom, the PC statement says. The revolver had four live rounds and two spent casings, according to the statement.

An autopsy was performed on Kern on May 11 and a bullet was removed from his body, the PC statement says. The bullet was intact and was similar to the bullets that were found in Polito's apartment, police said.

According to the PC statement, police had  been to Polito's apartment every day since the shooting, but they had not been able to locate him. On two occasions it appeared that Polito had returned to the apartment and broken through the door that had been padlocked by DPD, according to police. Polito left his apartment keys behind and had removed a television, suggesting to DPD that he was not intending to return, the PC statement says.

DPD's Fugitive Unit began surveilling an apartment located on South Oneida Street near Leetsdale Drive, looking for Polito, according to the statement. On Monday, May 17 a detective said she saw Polito and someone else being dropped off at the apartment, the PC statement says. A detective called Polito's phone and asked him and another person to come out of the apartment to talk to her, according to the statement. Polito and the other person complied and were brought to DPD headquarters to be interviewed, according to the PC statement.

Credit: Denver Police
Jeremy Polito

The PC statement says a detective advised Polito of his Miranda Rights and that he waived his rights, agreeing to talk with them without an attorney present. The PC statement is then heavily redacted. 

Police said they had gathered enough evidence to arrest Polito on suspicion of first-degree murder.

Polito is being held in the Denver Detention Center under $200,000 bond, according to jail records.

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