Homeless man arrested after fight over sleeping spot leads to deadly stabbing

DENVER — A homeless man has been arrested after getting into a fight over a sleeping spot that led to a fatal stabbing of an unarmed man in downtown early Monday morning, the Denver Police Department said Tuesday.

The incident happened about 12:30 a.m. at 15th and Wynkoop streets.

When officers arrived, a Hispanic man, identified as 53-year-old Raoul Lanius, was seen wearing a blue shirt that was covered in blood and an unknown black man who was on the ground nearby.

When asked what happened, Lanius told officers he had stabbed the unknown black man, according to a probable cause statement.

RELATED: Probable cause statement

Lanius told detectives the man approached him and his female companion after they set up on the front steps of a bicycle shop to sleep like they had done in the past.

Lanius and the woman told police the unknown man walked up to them, and told them they were in his spot and they needed to leave.

The woman said the man went around the corner, then motioned with his finger for her to come to him. The woman said Lanius then took a knife out of his backpack for possible protection.

When the man again told the two they had to leave, Lanius told police he blurted out, “Get the (expletive) out of here (expletive).”

The man then charged at Lanius, who was holding the knife believing he was going to be tackled or punched. Lanius described being attacked “like a bulldog.”

Lanius told detectives he stabbed the man on the left side about 10 times, on the shoulder, under his arm and on his chest.

When the fighting ended, the woman described how there was a lot of blood but she didn’t see the knife. She said she didn’t see anything in the unknown man’s hands.

Lanius told police he stabbed the man in self-defense.

The man was taken to Denver Health Medical Center but was pronounced dead about 1:35 a.m. Lanius was taken to Denver Health for evaluation.

The man was found to have 14 stab wounds between the face and torso. His heart and lung were penetrated, according to the statement. A forensic pathologist determined the death to be a homicide.

Lanius is being held on a charge of second-degree murder.