DENVER — Just over a month after 10 people were senselessly killed inside a King Soopers in Boulder, metro Denver law enforcement partners are sharing a message that they hope will lead to prevention.
“Everybody that is watching, everybody that is listening, everybody that will be reading about this press conference, they play a critical roll in preventing tragedies from occurring in our community,” Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said.
On Monday, Pazen was joined by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the U.S. Attorney’s Office – District of Colorado and FBI Denver in a joint press conference to encourage community engagement as a tool for preventing mass shootings or mass casualty incidents.
“In most incidents of mass shootings there is a common denominator, and it’s someone within the suspect’s orbit had significant concerns or fears that the suspect might indeed become violent; and in many of those cases, had the individual acted upon their concerns and reported the behavior, some intervention could’ve possibly taken place,” said John Camper, director of the CBI.
Coloradans can also use the state’s red flag law to report concerns about loved ones.
The law allows a person’s firearms to be seized through extreme risk protection orders if a judge rules the person to be a risk to themselves or others. The law has been heavily criticized by some Republican state lawmakers as, “unconstitutional.”
Representative Tom Sullivan, D-Centennial, cosponsored the extreme risk protection order bill. Sullivan’s son, Alex, was only 27-years-old when he was killed in the 2012 Aurora Theater shooting.
“This Friday will be the 460th Friday since my son Alex was murdered along with 11 others on July 20, 2012.” Sullivan said. “I take personal kind of umbrage, you know, when every new [shooting] happens. I always make a point to read those stories and read the names and try to get to know those people because I know they probably doing the same when it was happening to us.”
Sullivan said 113 petitions had been filed in Colorado since the law went into effect.
He said studies show red flag laws in other states have saved lives.
“For every 11 petitions that are filed, we save one life,” Sullivan said. “There were ten people who were sitting around the table with their loved ones enjoying the holiday season, that might not have been there had these petitions not been filed.”