Aurora cops hike reward for tips tied to fatal Juneteenth party shooting — audio of gunfire released

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AURORA | Aurora police have increased the reward available to anyone who presents information related to a fatal shooting in a strip mall parking lot early Sunday morning.

Police Agent Matt Longshore on Wednesday said officials are now offering $5,000 to tipsters who submit statements, pictures or video related to the shootout that left one man dead and four others injured following a Juneteenth party at 12455 East Mississippi Avenue on June 20.

Both the city’s reward fund and the Denver Metro Crime Stoppers chipped in to boost the reward from the standard baseline of $2,000. Anyone who submits tips can remain anonymous, Longshore confirmed.

Over the weekend, Officer Crystal McCoy said police received more than 50 calls to report that gunshots had rung out near the central Aurora shopping center near the intersection of Mississippi and Peoria Street shortly after 4:15 a.m.

Police eventually determined that four men and one women had been shot in the melee.

One of the men later died as a result of his injuries.

On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Arapahoe County Coroner’s Office identified the man slain in the shootout as 25-year-old Devante Love Livaudais of unincorporated Arapahoe County.

Investigators believe the gathering began in a vacant retail unit in the Aurora shopping complex, but eventually spilled into the parking lot. Detectives are still endeavoring to determine who organized the gathering and who was renting out the unit in which the party was held.

“We are not getting a lot of cooperation from the victims which is why we are relying on tips from Crime Stoppers,” Longshore wrote in an email.

The four people who were shot but did not die in the shooting drove themselves to nearby hospitals with various degrees of injury, McCoy said. It’s unclear if any of them remain hospitalized.

Investigators had collected more than 100 shell casings linked to the shootout as of Sunday afternoon.

Audio of the incident captured from a surveillance camera revealed that the gunfire lasted nearly one minute and came from a myriad of weapons.

Aggravated assaults, which is often how shootings are categorized in crime statistics, were up about 37% in the first five months of 2021 when comparing to the same time frame last year, according to Aurora police statistics. Through May 30, 988 people were wounded in aggravated assaults in Aurora.

Overall, major crime is up about 35% so far this year, with 7,841 incidents of what officials designate the most serious crimes reported through the end of May. That’s an increase of about 2,000 incidents over the same time frame in 2020.

“We have had an uptick in some violent crime and the community is concerned,” Police Chief Vanessa Wilson told a group of people who participated in a safety advocacy walk in the city last month.

The shooting early Sunday occurred exactly one year after a 17-year-old boy was shot and killed at another Juneteenth celebration about a mile east on the same road.

Eaglecrest high School student Xaviyar Sturges was shot and killed at an unofficial Juneteenth celebration that attracted more than 1,000 people at Rocky Ridge Park off of East Mississippi Avenue on June 19.

Sturges’ death remains unsolved, and officials in January increased the reward for information linked to his killing to $7,000.

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