Denver Couldn’t Enjoy The Nuggets’ Title For More Than A Few Hours Before A Drug Deal Gone Bad Led To A Mass Shooting

At least 10 people — including a suspect — were wounded in a shooting early Tuesday that police say may be connected to a fentanyl drug deal that was taking place amid thousands of fans gathered in downtown Denver, turning triumphant street celebrations of the Nuggets’ NBA title win potentially deadly.

Denver chief of police Ron Thomas said officers discovered cash, guns and a substance that appeared to be fentanyl at the scene. Signs that point toward a failed drug deal.

Shots Fired During Nuggets Celebration

At least 20 shots were fired near the intersection of Market and 20th streets a mile away from Ball Arena where the Nuggets defeated the Miami Heat, according to police. Three of the 10 victims were initially hospitalized in critical condition. All victims are expected to survive after four suffered life-threatening wounds that led to multiple concurrent surgeries, according to city officials.

Two men were taken into custody by the police.

“At least 20 shots were fired. We are still working to determine the motive. There appears to be a drug nexus,” Denver’s public safety director Armando Saldate said.

A local resident thought it was safe to go out and join in the celebration but was jarred by the incident.

“I thought it was safe when I went out last night. We had all that armory that was out there, all the police officers, basically like a military guard,” Denver resident Scott Dangelo told The Denver Post. “I thought it was just more fireworks going off. The percussion kind of startled me… The police officers were dropping down on their knees. I’m live-streaming. Next thing I know the officers dive in and are pointing their weapons. They were pointing to where the shots were. A lady got shot, like, 10 feet away from me. Another person was struck. It was pretty crazy.” 

It’s not uncommon for fans to take to the streets in a city after a team wins a championship. Usually it’s just people climbing on street lamps or traffic lights, sometimes there is property damage and the occasional scuffle. But mass shootings don’t usually happen in celebratory moments.

More Security For Championship Parade?

But this is America where we have a prevalence of guns and an obsession with violence. We aren’t halfway through the calendar year and there have already been 291 mass shootings.

This horrific incident puts an ugly taint on what should otherwise be a wonderful celebration for the city and longtime Nuggets fans.

The Nuggets’ championship parade is scheduled for Thursday. No doubt the Nuggets, city officials and the authorities are working to make sure no similar incident occurs.

“There is certainly a potential for danger any time there is a large gathering,” Chief Thomas told the Post. “I know there was celebratory gunfire throughout the city.”

“Celebratory gunfire?” That’s an oxymoron, no?

There should be no reason to fire off guns in celebration. This isn’t the 1850s gold rush and the Wild West.

We should be evolved enough to celebrate in a more civilized manner. Then again, this is sports, which has a way of bringing out our most primal and terrible behaviors.

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