ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)– Police were warned months about about a white supremacist who had pleaded guilty to a role in a racist killing.
Jeremiah Barnum was shot and killed by police in Englewood Thursday night. Barnum, 38, had just been released from prison in Nov. 2011. He had also served time for his role in a high profile hate crime in Denver, the 1997 murder of Oumar Dia.
After Barnum was released from prison last year, police were warned that he had a grudge against law enforcement and might be violent.
Englewood police say the man they shot and killed Thursday night appeared to be reaching for a gun when confronted by officers.
A Denver jury convicted Barnum in the 1997 murder of Oumar Dia in downtown Denver. Dia, a 38-year-old bellhop at a downtown hotel, was waiting at a bus stop at 17th and Welton when Barnum and an accomplice, Nathan Thill, approached him and shot him dead.
Thill is serving a life term for the Dia murder.
Barnum later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was imprisoned for the Dia case from 2002 until he was released on parole in 2009, according to the Colorado Department of Corrections. But he was arrested again in April 2011 on a drug charge and returned to prison for five months until he was released last November.
Prosecutors said Barnum and Thill attacked Dia due to their racist beliefs. While Thill was thought to be the actual shooter, Barnum was convicted on four counts. Dia had a wife and three children in Africa. The attack also left a woman, Jeannie Van Velkinburgh, paralyzed.
Sources tell CBS4 that while in prison, Barnum was a high ranking member of a violent, white supremacist gang called the “211 gang.” Since his release, Barnum had been contacted at least twice by Denver metro area law enforcement.
Englewood police chief Collins said Barnum had been living in Englewood.
“He kept a low profile. He flew below the radar pretty much,” Collins said.
Officers are being warned today to be on guard, that other white supremacists connected to Barnum are unhappy with his death Thursday night and might be inclined to initiate revenge attacks against police.
CBS4 Video Archive Feature
Watch a 30 minute special produced by CBS4 about the aftermath of the 1997 murder. A CBS4 crew traveled to West Africa and to Oumar Dia’s homeland. See in the special how Dia’s life in Denver meant so much to people around the world: Oumar Dia’s Legacy.