Headlines April 1, 2022
Sheriff’s Office Says Marshall Fire Investigation Likely To Continue For Several More Months
The Boulder County Sheriff’s office said in an update yesterday it could take several more months before the office can complete its investigation into the cause of the Marshall Fire.
In its statement, the Sheriff’s Office said it could not share specific information regarding the open investigation, but investigators have been working with experts from around the country to analyze the evidence.
The Denver Gazette and 9News also reported yesterday that two businesses and a married couple named John and Jane Doe have filed a class action lawsuit against Xcel Energy claiming the utility failed to maintain power lines which created sparks that ignited the Marshall Fire.
9News reports the two businesses named in court documents filed yesterday are Eldorado Enterprises, Inc. and Eldorado Liquor, Inc.
According to the Denver Gazette, the lawsuit contends a witness captured video showing sparks flying from a malfunctioning power line near the Shell gas station in the Eldorado Springs neighborhood of Boulder County.
The plaintiffs’ attorney told 9News he has not seen the video referenced in the lawsuit but said he believes it exists in the business surveillance tape that was turned over to the Sheriff’s Office.
An Xcel Energy spokesperson told 9News the utility has not seen evidence that its equipment ignited the fire.
Boulder Fire Rescue Reports 100% Containment Of NCAR Fire
For news on the NCAR Fire, Boulder-Fire Rescue announced late yesterday through Twitter that crews reached full containment of the fire.
Fire officials did note that although the fire has been 100% contained, it does not mean the fire is completely out because there may be interior portions that are still smoldering.
The fire, which started last Saturday, burned 190 acres with no damage to structures and no reported injuries.
Democrats Introduce Funding Packages Aimed At Reducing Air Pollution
Gov. Jared Polis and Democratic lawmakers are pushing a law package targeted at reducing air pollutants ahead of the smog expected in the summer of 2022.
Polis told reporters that this bill package would be “a major step forward”. Colorado’s ozone levels severely violate the environmental protection agencies’ healthy air quality limits.
Polis’ eco-package will save money and create jobs by encouraging ridership of electric public transit alternatives, and installation of pollution-reducing technology for businesses across the front range.
Legislators are seeking a 22 million dollar investment to properly fund the package, which will ensure a cleaner future for Coloradans.
Demonstrator Who Shot At Jeep Driving Through Police Protest Crowd Found Guilty
A jury found 24-year-old Samuel Young guilty yesterday of second-degree assault and attempted manslaughter after he shot at a Jeep that was driving through a protest crowd on Interstate 225 in Aurora.
The incident took place in July 2020 when a crowd of several hundred people protesting against police violence walked on the highway and blocked traffic.
According to the Denver Post, shortly before the shooting, a driver in a truck took a sharp turn in front of the jeep to stop it, damaging both vehicles, but the driver of the Jeep continued on, sending screaming protestors from its path.
As the Jeep moved through the screaming crowd, Young fired five shots at it, with two shots hitting fellow protesters who incurred non-fatal injuries and two shots hitting the back of the Jeep.
After pulling off the highway, the Jeep driver contacted police, who did not criminally charge the driver.
Prosecutors in the case claimed the Jeep driver never intended to hurt any of the protesters and that Young’s firing of a gun into a crowd was reckless, unreasonable, and criminal.
Young’s defense team asserted he reacted on instinct and fired in the defense of others and did not intend to hurt anyone.
Young faces sentencing on May 17th.
Denver Drains Its Free Supply Of The Overdose-Reversing Drug Narcan
Denver has run out of its supply of an opioid overdose-reversing drug, naloxone hydrochloride, often referred to as Narcan, because of supply chain issues.
Since mid-February, the City of Denver announced the distribution of naloxone to all consumers, free of cost. The high demand for the drug exceeded the amount available and, as a result, the city could not fill several orders.
In the words of the Drug Enforcement Agency, most opioid overdose deaths result from unknown inclusion of lethal amounts of fentanyl cut into other opioids. Fentanyl is a synthetic painkiller used to treat severe pain that is almost identical to morphine but 100 times more powerful, making it an incredibly dangerous drug if not used correctly.
A nonprofit advocacy group, Families Against Fentanyl, noted from 2015 through 2021 fentanyl deaths increased by 1000% in Colorado. This left individuals with a worry that their neighbors or loved ones might experience a similar death. The availability of naloxone helped to ease this stress by giving hope that having the drug on hand might save a life, making it a popular demand.
Aurora City Council Narrowly Passes Anti-Crime Strategy
Aurora’s lawmakers voted along party lines this week in favor of a five-point plan they say tackles the increased crime rates in the city.
The five-point plan, promoted by council member Dustin Zvonek, prioritizes resources for law enforcement, mental health, youth outreach, and homeless camp mitigation.
Progressives on the Aurora City Council called the plan redundant and disputed language in the resolution that blamed state lawmakers for the increase in crime.
Aurora, as well as Denver, and other major cities in the United States have reported an increase in violent crime occurring within the last year.
The Aurora Sentinel reports Zvonek’s plan does not earmark any funds for law enforcement activities but does signal support to expand the city’s Crisis Response Team, which responds to individuals experiencing a mental health crises, and among other measures aims to improve police data collection and adequately staffing the police department.