4 homicide investigations within 2 years keep police busy along Colfax near state Capitol

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DENVER -- Wednesday night’s shooting on Capitol Hill that left a police officer wounded and a suspect dead is the latest in a series of violence along East Colfax Avenue.

Police say they are working to turn the area around, but it hasn’t been easy.

East Colfax, primarily between Sherman and Clarkson streets, is known to police for drug use, homicides and assaults.

Along with crime, the stretch is filled with popular eateries, a landmark cathedral and the seat of Colorado’s government.

“Anything you want is here on Colfax … drugs, alcohol, sex,” a resident said.

In the past two years along Colfax from Sherman Street to Clarkson Street there have been four homicides investigated as murders and 26 reports of aggravated assault, according to statistics from the Denver Police Department.

“We have the open-air drug market that goes on,” said Denver Police District 6 Cmdr. Ron Saunier. “A lot of times that’s fueled by some of the gangs coming in.”

Patrols along Colfax have been stepped up in recent months, according to Saunier. Those patrols include officers on bicycles with a focus on community policing.

On the heels of Wednesday’s officer-involved shooting, Capitol Hill residents said they’re hoping for change. They’re looking toward police to make that happen.

“I don’t know what they got to do to clean it up, but they got to clean it up real good,” a man said.

The name of the officer wounded on Wednesday had not yet been released as of late Thursday. The officer was hit in the leg. He will have a long road to recovery, according to Saunier.

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