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Community Leader: Cole Violence Spiking Because Gangs Being 'Boxed In'

DENVER (CBS4) - There's been a call for calm following a murder outside a funeral in Denver's Cole neighborhood.

Neighborhood residents gathered Tuesday evening at George Morrison Sr. Park. The meeting was organized by Councilman Albus Brooks to talk about possible solutions to the violence. Brooks said he wanted the gathering because of the recent fear in the community, which is divided with a lot of new residents.

CBS4's Jeff Todd spoke with community leader Rev. Leon Kelly, executive director of Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives. Kelly said he thinks part of the problem is the gangs are being boxed in because of the new residents.

"When you got elements that are being boxed in. This neighborhood used to be dominated by blacks, then it was dominated by Hispanics that caused a coexistence," Kelly said. "Now we're dominated by other groups coming in, again causing a collapse of room."

gilpin shooting
Police in Denver investigate a deadly shooting on Gilpin Street (credit: CBS)

The most recent shooting happened last week in the 3200 block of Gilpin Street in the Cole neighborhood before a funeral procession for a homicide victim. The vicitm, Abdul Rahim Muhammad, 61, was gunned down just a few blocks away in a drive-by shooting on April 11.

Abdul Rahim Muhammad
Abdul Rahim Muhammad aka John Oliver (credit: Denver Police)

The shooting was in broad daylight just before noon. Multiple shots were fired and the victim, Nolan Ware, 22, was taken to an area hospital where he died of his injuries.

Ware was Muhammad's great nephew.

Nolan Ware
Nolan Ware (credit: Denver Police)

Kelly says he believes both shootings were gang-related.

It was the 18th homicide in Denver since the beginning of the year, twice as many as this point last year. Nearly half of them have happened around the north central part of the city.

Denver police say they have been working over the past several months to address gang violence in the Cole neighborhood.

So far there have been no arrests in the last two murders.

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