Last month, Denver police discovered bodies near the intersection of Broadway and I-25 of three people who were believed to be homeless. The cause of death for all three was determined to be gunshot wounds.
Today, the department announced they’ve arrested Maurice Butler in connection with the homicides.
In a press release, DPD said Butler was picked up on August 13 for unlawful possession of a controlled substance and a parole violation and he has remained in custody since then. The department credited tips from the community that helped them identify him as a suspect.
Though they are not able to discuss motive at this time, the press release states that at least two of the victims knew Butler.
The office identified the three victims as Nicole “Nikki” Boston, 28, Christopher “Little Cowboy” Zamudio, 45, and Jerome “Rome” Coronado, 39.
A DPD spokesperson said that whether or not the three victims were actually experiencing homelessness is still being determined as part of the investigation. Nonetheless, the homicides prompted commentary from local advocates that there is still a need for more services for people living on the street.
Terese Howard, an advocate with Denver Homeless Out Loud, said that she can confirm the three victims were homeless. The crime, she said, was disturbing and a symptom of wider policy issues in the city.
“Its important because this is, one, a result of the hate that’s perpetuated in our society against homeless folks and, two, a direct connection for a need for our right to survive,” she said, adding that the city needs embrace ways to deal with the city’s unhoused populations that don’t “push people to unsafe areas.”
That won’t fix all of the problems associated with poverty and a lack of affordable housing, she said, but “it’s a heck of a lot safer” if people are able to sleep in “central, well-lit areas.”