Nine people were shot and wounded near the Denver Nuggets' Ball Arena early Tuesday morning in an apparent drug deal as celebrations for the team'swere winding down, police said. One of two men who were arrested in connection with the shooting also sustained a gunshot wound, police disclosed.
In a press conference late Tuesday morning, Denver Police Commander Matt Clark said nine men and a woman were shot during the incident. He said their wounds were not believed to be life-threatening.
Among the wounded was 22-year-old suspect Ricardo Miquel Vazquez, who was arrested on a charge of possession of a weapon by a previous offender and possession of a controlled substance.
Clark noted it was likely that some of the others who were wounded were also possibly involved in the shooting.
"While we know some of the offenders were injured by gunfire, we also know that several innocent people who were in the area were hit by rounds that were fired," Clark said.
Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas said investigators strongly suspect five or six wounded people were "completely innocent bystanders."
At least 20 rounds were fired in the area, police said, and five handguns and small bags of fentanyl pills were recovered.
"Certainly does appear to have been a drug nexis," Thomas said. "There were quantities of cash, there was a large amount of drugs."
Five people were treated at Denver Health Medical Center and were listed in fair condition, trauma surgeon Dr. Eric Campion told reporters.
"We were able to rapidly triage these patients, identify which were the most seriously injured, and get them rapidly to the operating room," Campion said.
Raoul Gottfried Jones, 33, who wasn't wounded in the shooting, was also arrested on a charge of possession of a weapon by a previous offender, Clark said.
According to police, the shooting happened in the vicinity of the arena where the Nuggets won their first NBA championship Monday night with a hard-fought 94-89 victory over the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
"What we couldn't have planned for was a drug deal right in the middle of a celebration for an NBA championship," Thomas said.
that thousands of celebrating fans had poured into the streets around the arena after the game. Police spokesperson Doug Schepman told CBS News the shooting happened roughly three-and-a-half hours after the game, in the area where the biggest crowd of fans had gathered, though there was a smaller crowd when the gunfire broke out.
— Patrick Torphy contributed reporting.
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