DENVER (KDVR) — Loved ones are speaking out after police said two employees were killed inside the American Elm restaurant in north Denver on Monday.
Police identified the victims as Emerall Vaughn-Dahler and Ignacio Gutierrez Morales.
Vaughn-Dahler’s family told FOX31 she was the general manager at American Elm, but to them, she was much more. Her husband, Andrew Dahler, said she was a loving mother, wife, daughter and friend to all.
“Emerall was always one to make everyone else happy,” Dahler said. “That was her ultimate goal in life, just providing great service for anybody, everybody.”
Friends and coworkers of Ignacio Gutierrez Morales told FOX31 he will be remembered for his smile and nickname “Nacho.”
“Nacho was a great guy, always had a smile on his face, was a family guy. We’re going to miss him,” a coworker at Highland Tavern told FOX31. “He was one of our best cooks. He’s been here for 10 years, so going to be hard shoes to fill.”
Families, coworkers mourn after killings
Caring in nature, Vaughn-Dahler was always thinking of others, her husband said — especially her 12-year-old son, Michael.
“She’s a mother. That’s her title. If she were to take anything with her, it was being a mom, because it’s not just being a mom to Michael, it’s being a mom to everyone around her,” Dahler said.
He said Monday was like any other day, never imagining something like this.
“I don’t know who or why someone would ever do this,” Dahler said. “I’m still just expecting her to walk through the door and say, ‘Oh, lost track of time. Everything got really busy today,’ and everything be fine, but we’re still waiting and going to be waiting because she’s gone.”
Her family is grieving and left with so many questions.
“That’s the toughest part is just knowing that she’s not coming back and she’s not going to be able to watch us be the best we can be in life,” Dahler said.
A GoFundMe has been set up to support both families.
Metro Denver Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $2,000 for information. Anonymous tips can be provided by calling 720-913-7867 (STOP).