DENVER (KDVR) — A community in the Denver area is mourning the loss of 47-year-old Ma Kaing, a mother of four and refugee from Burma.
“She’s a community leader. She’s on the housing board here,” said Sharon Knight, the president and CEO of Hope Communities. That’s the organization that manages the Hidden Brook Apartments on 13th Avenue and Xenia Street, where Kaing lived and was killed.
Knight said that on Friday night, Kaing and her son were outside the building unloading groceries when a stray bullet from the south struck Kaing.
“Stray bullets from an automatic weapon hit her. Someone was firing from across the street in Freedom Park and bullets hit her,” Knight said.
Knight said Kaing’s son was holding Ma while he called 911 several times. She said Kaing’s son said 911 hung up on him. She also said several other people from the building who heard the screaming outside also called 911.
“By the time anyone came, 40 minutes later, she didn’t make it,” Knight said.
Denver has not commented on the response
Denver Police said in a press release on Tuesday that officers from their department responded to the shooting on Friday.
Knight said she believes the calls were sent back and forth between different jurisdictions. She said she was told by someone from the City of Denver that the calls were sent to Arapahoe County.
“They were caught up in a dispute on who is responsible and of course the family lost their mom,” Knight said.
Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office told FOX31 and Channel 2 Tuesday that their county didn’t receive any calls Friday night that were routed back to Denver.
FOX31 and Channel 2 reached out to DPD to see if they could comment on the response time and learn what happened and are waiting to hear back. DPD did state they are investigating the shooting and asking anyone with information to contact Metro Denver Crime Stoppers (720) 913-7867 (STOP).
Ma Kaing was known to the community, which fears danger
“Her son called me and said his mom had been shot and killed in front of this building,” said Levon Lylas, a friend of Kaing.
Knight said Kaing had been living in that area for 15 years. She fled the war-torn country of Burma to be safe in the United States, wanting to live the American dream. Knight said Kaing had just opened her own restaurant.
Neighbors in the area tell FOX31 and Channel 2 they are afraid and wish more police presence was possible in their neighborhood.
“It’s dangerous. A lot of violence, gunshots, gang activity, but there are good people here too, and Ma was one of those people,” Lylas said.
The family has started a GoFundMe to help with funeral costs and other emergency expenses. If you’d like to help you can donate here.
There is a viewing memorial planned for tomorrow at Harris Funeral Home from 5-8 p.m. The public is welcomed to attend.