A man was stabbed to death at the National Western shelter in Denver

The district attorney has charged a man who was staying at the shelter with murder

The National Western Center is being set up to become a shelter for unhoused men. April 8, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The National Western Center is being set up to become a shelter for unhoused men. April 8, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Donna Bryson. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Updates with suspect charged with first-degree murder. 


A man has been charged with first-degree murder in a June 16 stabbing death at the National Western shelter for people experiencing homelessness.

Denver District Attorney Beth McCann announced the charge against 38-year-old Christopher Smith following his appearance in court June 23. In a news release, McCann’s office said the stabbing followed a fight over the victim, who was not identified, having cut in line for the showers.

According to a police affidavit, officers responded to a report of a stabbing at the complex at about 7:30 p.m. June 16. Smith was in the sleeping area near a man who had been stabbed in the neck. When officers arrived, Smith, covered in blood, was on the floor with his hands behind his head. A knife was found at the scene.

Paramedics attempted to save the victim, who was later pronounced dead at Denver Health Medical Center.

According to the police affidavit, Smith told officers several times that night that “he knew what he did was wrong, he had just had enough and he had no feelings about anything, including killing the male.”

The National Western Complex Hall of Education opened April 9 as a shelter for men experiencing homelessness. The 24-hour shelter has consistently been a haven for more than 600 men each night.

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