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Recent random acts of violence in Denver raises safety concerns

Recent random acts of violence in Denver raises safety concerns
Recent random acts of violence in Denver raises safety concerns 03:17

Recent random and reckless acts of violence in the streets of downtown Denver are raising some concern for residents.  

CBS News Colorado spoke to residents who live on 17th Avenue and N Williams Street about the latest random shooting that took place Monday night, where a rideshare driver was killed and a security guard was severely injured.  

"It's going to spook me for a while for sure," Adrian Gestos told CBS Colorado. 

Gestos is among several residents who heard gunshots ring Monday night near that intersection. 

"All I heard was just a few shots, [and] was spooked," he said. "Staring out the window, hoping I didn't get shot through the windows or something, but that was about it really."  

He says it is shocking to learn this was all a random incident between the alleged suspect and the victims.  

"I mean I turn on that corner all the time, so it could've been me. It's really kind of scary, really upsetting," said Gestos. 

Michael Gawain Jackson, 22, is now being held for first degree murder, attempted first degree murder and felony menacing in the shooting, after allegedly shooting at a 51-year-old rideshare driver. The driver crashed into a tree and later died at the hospital. A passenger in the car had minor injuries.  

The suspect also allegedly shot at a private security guard who stopped to assist after hearing the gunshot and crash that evening. Then, upon stealing the private security guard's gun, threatened a second security guard before taking their company vehicle and driving away. It was that second guard's first day on the job.  

As of Tuesday, Denver Police Department said the security guard who was shot was out of the hospital.  

Records show Jackson has a previous arrest history, which includes two counts of second-degree assault to a police officer back in February, and 2nd degree assault and 2nd degree kidnapping charges from Aug. 31. Jackson was also supposed to relinquish any firearms he owned earlier this month related to his domestic violence charges.  

Yet it's his latest act of random violence, coupled with other recent incidents in the Metro, that have residents worried.  

In addition to last night's shooting, a woman is accused of shooting five innocent people in Denver's LoDo neighborhood over the weekend. Police say she was aiming at bouncers who would not allow her into a club. 

Last week, a man stabbed and killed another man on an RTD bus before getting off an killing a woman nearby on the street, which police say were both unprovoked attacks.  

"It's frustrating and concerning because how do you prevent a crime like that as a police department? It's a random act of violence," said Doug Schepman, spokesperson for Denver Police Department. "But what we can do is show up quickly, provide care resources on site to stabilize the situation, and work quickly to find that offender, which is what happened last night."

CBS Colorado reached out to the police chief and the mayor's office for interviews on how the city will work to improve safety in response to multiple recent acts of random violence in the metro. Both declined those requests.   

Schepman does tell CBS Colorado that they look to crime trends and the public's input on where they can best allocate their resources to respond to these incidents.  

"I know that they [the Mayor's office] have been briefed and made aware of these situations, and again I think it's just working with the mayor's office, other city agencies to try and identify are there solutions? Are there ways to mitigate these types of situations? Sometimes there are not, unfortunately," Schepman said. "The best that we can do is respond quickly and work to hold that person accountable."  

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