Montbello shooting activates Denver’s Safe Haven Initiative, turning a nearby church into a place to seek help and air grievances

In response to the shooting, the New Life Christian Center was designated a Safe Haven for three days, under a Denver program launched only a month ago.

JOSEPH-SQUARE

Montbello awoke on Sunday to the news of a shooting near Interstate 70 and Peoria that injured children, 3 and 6 years old, in addition to one adult.

In response to the shooting, the New Life Christian Center at 12505 Elmendorf Place was designated a Safe Haven for three days, under a Denver program launched only a month ago.

The Safe Haven Initiative gives people a network to participate in a community healing process. It is designed to help people who are struggling with fear, trauma, or frustration following a gang-related event. After something like the Montbello incident occurs, the closest participating church is designated as a Safe Haven for three days.

“Under the leadership of our faith community, we’re going to bring a community response to these terrible acts when they occur to support those affected however we can,” Mayor Hancock said in a press release announcing the launch of the Safe Haven Initiative.

People in Montbello will have a chance to air out their grievances regarding the shooting. Volunteers on site will have been trained in psychological first aid and critical response training. Emotional and mental wellness specialists, interpreters, childcare and food will also be available to people at the New Life Christian Center.

The victims’ family told media outlets that the shooting was a random drive-by that occurred when they were sitting in their front yard.

All were transported to a hospital. The children’s injuries are not considered life-threatening, and one is already back playing in the yard where the shooting occurred.

“As a community we understand the trauma and fear that accompanies a tragic event in our neighborhood. The Safe Haven activation allows community members the opportunity to come to a secure location to receive support and services to begin to heal from these events,” said Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore.

At the time Safe Haven was launched, more than 20 churches signed up to be a designated safe location. Safe Haven is partnered with the Gang Reduction Initiative of Denver (GRID). GRID includes a number of businesses, agencies and faith organizations that aim to combat gang violence.

“We’re working to improve our life. It is a very prideful community,” said Chris Martinez, chairperson of Montbello Organizing Committee.

Hi! You’re like us!

Looks like you’re the type of person who reads to the ends of articles! Well, true believer, you might really like our morning newsletter. It’s quick, free and gets you up to speed on the important and delightful things happening right here in Denver.

Thanks for reading another Denverite story

Does Denverite help you feel more connected to what’s up in your area? Do you want to be a part of it?

Member donations are critical to our continued existence and growth.

You’re our superpower

Denverite supporters have made the decision to financially support local journalism that matters to you. Ready to tell your networks why? Sharing our “About” page with your own personal comments could really help us out.

You’re our superpower

Denverite members have made the decision to financially support local journalism that matters to you. Ready to tell your networks why? Sharing our “About” page with your own personal comments could really help us out.