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'This Violence Stops Here': Denver Metro Area Community Honors Shooting Spree Victims

DENVER (CBS4) - Less than two weeks since a gunman shot and killed five people in a shooting spree throughout Denver and Lakewood, dozens gathered on Broadway to remember and mourn the victims murdered on Dec. 27. On Saturday, community members held a ceremony and prayer where danza was performed and friends spoke.

"We came together as a way of cleansing this block," said Elena Klaver, a danza performer. "To honor Alicia Cárdenas and Alyssa Maldonado and the other three people."

(credit: CBS)

The other three victims killed were Danny "Dano" Scofield, Sarah Steck and Michael Swinyard. Jimmy Maldonado, the husband of Alyssa, was also shot and injured in the shooting. He was recently released from the hospital and attended the ceremony.

"There's been a lot of work done ceremonially to make sure they're OK on their way to the next life, but for here, what we have to do is say 'This violence stops here. This misogyny. The white supremacy. We're taking back this space,'" Klaver said.

5 Dead In Shooting Spree Around Denver
LAKEWOOD, CO - DECEMBER 27: Police SWAT team members walk through the Belmar shopping center where authorities say the suspect in a shooting spree that claimed five lives was shot and killed on December 27, 2021 in Lakewood, Colorado. The shootings occurred this evening at more than six separate locations across the metro area. Police say one officer was wounded while exchanging gunfire with the suspect. (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

Cárdenas, 44, was one of the first victims killed on that fateful day. She was the owner of Sol Tribe Tattoo & Piercing. Nathen Garcia, Cárdenas' cousin, told CBS4 she was a pillar to the Denver community. Cárdenas enjoyed danza, painting murals and spending time with her 12-year-old daughter.

"My mind just keeps going to 'this can't be real.' It's a nightmare. She'd be one that I'd want to talk to," Garcia said. "She built her business from the ground up. She did amazing work for herself, and the way she held space for the community, always being there for people."

(credit: CBS)

While the loss of the victims continues to be felt, the community is trying to pick up the pieces.

"I'm just going to pray that our community stays strong together," said Garcia.

Those like Garcia and Klaver are learning to heal and learning to cope with the absence of five people who meant so much to so many in the Colorado community.

"It's going to be a process, and for the families, for the community, for all those affected, it's like the grief doesn't go away," said Klaver. "But we do have to transform that grief into action at some point."

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