Valdosta Daily Times

Top News

April 21, 2013

Shooting at Colo. pot holiday gathering injures 2

DENVER — Gunfire erupted at a Denver pot celebration Saturday, injuring two people and scattering a crowd of thousands who had gathered for the first 4/20 counterculture holiday since the state legalized marijuana.

The man and woman who were shot were expected to survive, and police were looking for one or two suspects, said Denver Police spokesman Sonny Jackson. Police asked festival attendees for possible photo or video of the shootings, and had no immediate motive.

Witnesses described a scene in which a jovial atmosphere quickly turned to one of panic at the downtown Civic Center Park just before 5 p.m. Several thought firecrackers were being set off, then a man fell bleeding, his dog also shot.  

“I saw him fall, grabbing his leg,” said Travis Craig, 28, who was at the celebration, saw the shooting and said he used a belt to apply a tourniquet to the man’s leg.

“He was just screaming that he was in pain, and wanted to know where his girlfriend was. She was OK. And then the cops showed up real quick, like, less than a minute. They put him on ambulance and left.”

The annual pot celebration this year was expected to draw as many as 80,000 people after recent laws in Colorado and Washington made marijuana legal for recreational use.

A sizable police force on motorcycles and horses had been watching the celebration since its start earlier Saturday. But authorities, who generally look the other way at public pot smoking here on April 20, didn’t arrest people for smoking in public, which is still illegal.

Police said earlier in the week that they were focused on crowd security in light of attacks that killed three at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

“We’re aware of the events in Boston,” said Denver police spokesman Aaron Kafer, who declined to give specifics about security measures being taken. “Our message to the public is that, if you see something, say something.”

Stephanie Riedel, who traveled to the pot celebration from Pittsburgh, said she was dancing with a hula hoop when she heard pops. A man ran past her, then she said the crowd started screaming and running away. She was about 20 feet from the shooting and heard four or five shots.

“I couldn’t make sense of what it was at first,” she said. “We were all having a good time and I was in the mindframe of, we’re here at a peace gathering. I thought it some guys playing.”

Rapper Lil’ Flip was performing when the shootings occurred.

Aerial footage showed the massive crowd frantically running from the park.

Ian Bay, who was skateboarding through Civic Center Park when shots erupted, said he was listening to music on his headphones when he looked to his right and saw a swarm of hundreds of people running at him.

“I sort of panicked. I thought I was going through an anxiety thing because so many people were coming after me,” he said.

Before the shooting, reggae music filled the air, and so did the smell of marijuana, as celebrants gathered by mid-morning in the park just beside the state Capitol.

Group smoke-outs were planned Saturday from New York to San Francisco. The origins of the number “420” as a code for pot are murky, but the drug’s users have for decades marked the date 4/20 as a day to use pot together.

Colorado and Washington are still waiting for a federal response to the votes and are working on setting up commercial pot sales, which are still limited to people with certain medical conditions. In the meantime, pot users are free to share and use the drug in small amounts.

A citizen advocacy group that opposes marijuana proliferation, Smart Colorado, warned in a statement that public 4/20 celebrations “send a clear message to the rest of the nation and the world about what Colorado looks like.”

“Does the behavior of the participants in these events reflect well on our state?” asked the head of Smart Colorado, Henny Lasley.

A smaller Sunday event scheduled at the park was canceled.

Saturday’s attack recalled a similar shooting that left a police officer dead at a crowded jazz concert in Denver’s City Park last summer.  

The 22-year-old suspect in that case pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and faces at least 16 years in prison when he is sentenced at a hearing scheduled for June 21.

His attorneys said he was being pursued by gang members when he drew his weapon and fired.

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Nepal Everest Avalanc_Rich copy.jpg Another body pulled from snow in avalanche

    Search teams recovered a 13th body Saturday from the snow and ice covering a dangerous climbing pass on Mount Everest, where an avalanche a day earlier swept over a group of Sherpa guides in the deadliest disaster on the world’s highest peak.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • South Korea Ship Sink_Rich copy.jpg Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken ferry

    After more than three days of frustration and failure, divers on Sunday finally found a way into a submerged ferry off South Korea’s southern shore, discovering more than a dozen bodies inside the ship and pushing the confirmed death toll to 49, officials said.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP450420090 copy.jpg Today in History for Sunday, April 20, 2014

    Today is Easter Sunday, April 20, the 110th day of 2014. There are 255 days left in the year.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lakeland hospital, convalescent home getting new owner

    The Hospital Authority of Valdosta & Lowndes County,  d/b/a South Georgia Medical Center (Hospital Authority), has entered into a definitive agreement with Lanier Health Services, Inc. to transfer ownership of Lanier Health Services, Inc. d/b/a Louis Smith Memorial Hospital and Lakeland Villa Convalescent Center effective May 1, 2014.

    April 20, 2014

  • Lowndes commissioner certified

    Lowndes County Commissioner Demarcus Marshall earned his certification as a county commissioner from the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

    April 20, 2014

  • Brooks urges deep-dug pipeline

    Brooks County commissioners unanimously passed a resolution earlier this month encouraging Sabal Trail to bury its proposed natural gas pipeline two feet deeper than the three-feet requirements.

    April 20, 2014

  • Flood warning remains in effect for Brooks, Lowndes counties

    April 19, 2014

  • Lunar Crash_Rich copy.jpg NASA’s moon-orbiting robot crashes as planned

    NASA’s robotic moon explorer, LADEE, is no more.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX South Korea S_Rich copy.jpg Captain of sunken S. Korean ferry, 2 crew arrested

    The captain of the ferry that sank off South Korea, leaving more than 300 missing or dead, was arrested early Saturday on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need — three of whom were seen lifeless in the drowned vessel by a diver who was unable to get them out.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • MT EVEREST_Rich.jpg Avalanche sweeps down Everest, killing at least 12

    Rescuers were searching through piles of snow and ice on the slopes of Mount Everest on Saturday for four Sherpa guides who were buried by an avalanche that killed 12 other Nepalese guides in the deadliest disaster on the world’s highest peak.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
Other
     View Results