Aurora police respond to double fatal shootings, park shooting, an RTD bus shooting and a stabbing, just hours apart


AURORA | Aurora police are looking into a string of violence Wednesday, including a double shooting, a park shooting, a bus shooting, and a stabbing that all occurred in the city Wednesday afternoon and evening.

Officers first responded to the EZ Pawn in Del Mar Circle at about 4:30 p.m. after an employee called in a double shooting, according to police. First responders found two men in the pawn shop at 797 Peoria St. with gunshot wounds.

The men had apparently been shooting at one another, police wrote in a news release. Both men died at a local hospital shortly thereafter.

The Arapahoe County Coroner’s Office has identified the men killed in the pawn shop as Ricardo Herrera, 26, and Keith Lamonte Smith Jr., 28. Both deaths are classified as homicides.

No one else was injured in the shooting, and there is no further threat to the public, according to police. Multiple weapons were found at the scene.

Less than three hours later, police reported that a man had been stabbed to death near the intersection of South Parker Road and Peoria Street.

Officers were called to what police described as a transient encampment in that area at about 7 p.m. There, they discovered a 33-year-old man with stab wounds. He was rushed to a local hospital and later died from his injuries.

On Thursday, investigators announced that 24-year-old Stephen Minks-Morgan had been arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder in connection with the stabbing.

Police said an initial investigation revealed that Minks-Morgan and the victim knew each other, and that the incident was isolated.

Less than an hour after the fatal stabbing, gunfire broke out on RTD bus No. 6191 near East Mississippi Avenue and South Troy Street, police said. A dispute on the bus at 7:46 p.m. resulted in a man with a gunshot wound to the arm. After the shooting, everyone involved “fled the bus,” police said in a statement. The wounded person “self-transported to the hospital.” Police that that person wouldn’t give up any information on the incident.

Later in the evening, multiple complaints of shots fired near Apache Mesa Park, at East Seventh Avenue and Laredo Street produced a single shooting victim.

On Thursday, a police spokesperson said the 23-year-old-man who was shot remains in the hospital and is expected to survive. He was shot in the stomach.

Laredo Street was closed between East Sixth and East Eighth avenues in both directions following the shooting. No suspect information was immediately available.

Anyone with any information related to these deaths or shootings is encouraged to call the Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867. The local branch of Crime Stoppers U.S.A. offers rewards of up to $2,000 for legitimate information.

On Thursday, Interim Police Chief Vanessa Wilson released a statement addressing the apparent surge in violent crime and urging residents to report any malfeasance they may witness.

“The uptick in violent crimes over the last week is extremely concerning,” Wilson said through a spokesperson. “Our investigators have been tirelessly working to bring justice and resolution to a number of those cases. We need our community’s assistance to ensure that the ones involved are not only held responsible for their actions but also, we need them to promptly report any criminal behavior. Remember, if you witness a crime, you can remain anonymous by calling Denver Metro Crime Stoppers. Many of our specialized units are back to their normal hours and responsibilities, including our (Police Are Representative) Units. If you are having problems within your neighborhood, I urge you to reach out to your specific PAR Officer.”