DENVER -- Eric Ukuni appeared in a Denver courtroom Wednesday where he was told he’s being investigated for six felony counts, including first-degree attempted murder, first-degree murder and robbery.
All of the charges are related to Tuesday’s crime spree that began in Commerce City with an armed carjacking and ended in Denver near West 40th Avenue and Havana Street where Ukuni, 26, allegedly intentionally struck and killed a retired Aurora Central High School vice principal.
“He took an angel. An angel, a good guy,” said Tommy McClain, a friend and former co-worker of Ernest Gurrini. “Nicest person. Goofy. He had a kind heart."
Gurrini was a retired teacher and former vice principal of Aurora Central High School. But family and friends say retirement didn’t suit the active 66-year-old.
“He just wanted to do something while he was retired,” McClain said.
So Gurrini took up contract work for OnTrac Delivery.
“He’s one of the first persons to work everyday,” said Sean Cunningham, who also delivers for OnTrac.
Gurrini's family said he had just left breakfast with his elderly father Tuesday morning just before 7 a.m.
“He lost his mom last year and his dad was still here so he used to go every morning to check on his dad,” McClain said.
Gurrini then stopped at 7-Eleven for coffee and was getting back into his truck heading to his delivery job when he was hit and killed by the driver of a stolen red pickup.
The Denver Police Department said the driver of the truck was Ukuni.
According to court documents, Ukuni stole the truck from a teenage girl and her father, holding a screwdriver to one of their necks while demanding the keys in a Commerce City parking lot around 6:30 a.m.
Officers with the Commerce City Police Department chased Ukuni but lost sight of him.
Near 40th and Havana, witnesses said Ukuni started intentionally ramming cars from behind before appearing to swerve directly into Gurrini, who was getting back into his vehicle.
“You never think of something like that happening. You always think maybe a fender bender, but not somebody just blatantly ramming you,” McClain said.
About the man who is alleged to have killed his friend and former co-worker, McClain said, "I gotta pray for him too because his life is going to change, you know. He’s not going to have a normal life after this. I hope he feels sorry for what he did but I really don’t have anything nice to say to him."
According to court documents, Ukuni was out on bond in a forgery case and a warrant was issued for his arrest last month. He wasn’t picked up until after the crime spree.
Gurrini’s family gathered Wednesday at the home where he lived with his wife. They set up a GoFundMe account to help with funeral expenses.
They said the world lost an angel, a husband, father, grandfather and all-around good man.AlertMe