DENVER (CBS4) - A shooting in the underground bus terminal at Union Station last Saturday is fueling concerns for public safety. There's been an outbreak of crime in that area of Denver for several months.
"This issue of public safety, a lot of that as to do with a lack of people during the daytime," said Kourtny Garrett, president & CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership (DDP).
Much like the rest of the world, Denver is in the midst of a COVID-19 comeback. Ever since the city all but shut down from the pandemic, it opened the door to crime.
"Over 100,000 people typically come to work in downtown Denver pre-pandemic on a daily basis," Garrett told CBS4. "When you lose it in an instant, that is naturally going to have an impact on your environment."
From shootings outside shops downtown to shots fired inside the RTD bus terminal at Union Station, violent crime and drug use is on the rise. And, it's tarnishing the reputation of an otherwise vibrant part of Denver.
"I've gone down and saw it," Mayor Michael Hancock said. "It's absolutely unacceptable."
Last month, Mayor Hancock told CBS4's Jim Benemann the city is stepping up efforts to reduce crime. He said there is a greater focus on the area around Union Station.
"Our police department and other agencies have moved in a tremendous presence to clean up Union Station," he said. "We cannot lose, it and we won't lose it."
As Colorado continues its comeback, the DDP is focused on bringing people back and, in turn, cutting down crime.
"Part of that is something that every single person in Denver can be part of by showing up, populating our businesses, enjoying our public spaces and bringing it back to life," Garrett said. "As of March 1, having 40% of our daytime population back is going to make a significant difference. In parallel, we need more resources dedicated to mental health and substance abuse nationwide in order to hit every angle of public safety."
New details from Denver Police state the victim was standing in the terminal near Archuleta and another male. Surveillance video shows Archuleta walking near the victim and then pull out a semi-automatic handgun which appeared to have an extended magazine.
Police documents state Archuleta pointed the gun at the victim, shot him and then ran away. The second male walked away slowly, police say.
RTD shared the following statement with CBS4:
Restoring a welcoming environment and ensuring the safety and security of travelers, employees, and everyone who visits, lives or works near Union Station are RTD's and the city and county of Denver's top priorities. Police presence has been increased at the Union Station facility and adjacent areas, including sworn RTD transit police officers, Denver Police officers and Sheriff's Deputies, as well as contracted security officers. RTD recognizes that the issues impacting Union Station are societal and occur throughout the metro-area. The agency is collaborating with the city and county of Denver to evaluate options to address them.
Denver Union Station officials released this statement:
The historic Denver Union Station building - which encompasses the Great Hall, The Crawford Hotel, as well as partner dining establishments and retail spaces - is a privately leased, privately operated entity. The Denver Union Station Alliance contracts an independent security team to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for our guests, our associates, and the community within our space. We support the ongoing efforts of the Denver Police Department and RTD who manage the security of the public transit areas and outdoor plazas.
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