DENVER (CBS4) — Police are looking for three men who attacked and robbed a 64-year-old street vendor in Denver’s Montbello neighborhood last week. The men beat Antonio Ramirez-Chavez and took about $70 — all the money he’d made that day. A Denver police officer was the first to give money from her own pocket to help Ramirez-Chavez. Now, a GoFundMe set up for him has raised over $28,000.
A photo shared on the GoFundMe page shows Ramirez-Chavez after the attack.
Police say Ramirez-Chavez was loading up his ice cream cart near Florida Pitt Waller School at 7:20 p.m. on Thursday, June 11, when he was attacked.
Officer Mona Barraza spoke to Ramirez-Chavez, who said he didn’t want to report the attack at first because he was concerned about his status as an undocumented immigrant.
“Immigration has nothing to do with us. We’re here to help you whether you are a victim or you want to talk about something that’s important to you. Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid to talk to us,” Officer Barraza said.
Barraza said his injuries were severe — she believes several bones in his face were shattered and said his right eye was so swollen he could barely see out of it.
Barraza ended up giving him $70 out of her pocket to make up for the money that was taken.
“I can only imagine him walking all day long, in the heat, for God knows how many hours and then he gets beat up and $70 gets taken from him,” Officer Barraza said. “So that’s what compelled me to at the very least replace that money.”
Barraza said two other officers also pitched in to help the vendor.
Barraza said Ramirez-Chavez sells frozen treats and snacks to support his wife, who has health issues, and his 9-year-old daughter.
Now police are trying to identify the people who attacked him. Investigators say the suspects were in an unknown make/model dark green SUV. Anyone with information on the suspects in this incident is asked to contact Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720.913.STOP.