DENVER (CBS4) – Starting Sunday night and “for the foreseeable future” Denver Police will be intentionally pinching traffic on Federal Boulevard to one lane each north and southbound between Evans and 6th Avenues to slow cruising, speeds and hopefully tempers.
“I think it’s way overdue. I feel like it’s been a problem all summer long with Sunday,” said longtime resident Richard Casias.
Much of the trouble has come from young people, armed often with stolen guns police say and solving conflict with gunfire.
“I just feel for these young teenagers, this generation that we have now, and just wish they would get involved with more of their families, stay away from the streets,” added Casias.
Violence peaked Sunday night with three people killed among seven shot in two apparently unrelated shooting incidents.
“A lot of these shootings have arisen out of just social contact and unfortunately people have decided to resort to extreme violence, using guns instead of other means of resolving conflict,” said Denver Police patrol division chief Ron Thomas.
Police will keep a lane open for emergency vehicles only to move quickly between incidents. But traffic will also have only one lane and going is expected to be slow. In addition, police say they will be breaking up gatherings in parking lots. That is where violence seems to sprout out of conflicts between young people.
“A lot of the conflicts because of the people being in close proximity to one another. That’s what emanating from those parking lots.”
Among the victims Sunday night, Jessica Barraza, who friends gathered to remember Wednesday evening in the parking lot outside a NAPA auto parts store and Federal Boulevard and Center Street.
“There was not an evil bone in her body. Just here with a friend probably buying something out of a store, I don’t know,” said friend Tony Hightower who worked with Barraza at Children’s Hospital where she helped handle insurance issues.
Many locals were glad police were making changes.
“I’m really glad. Because every Sunday it’s the same thing, we can’t even go out,” said mother Yolanda Gonzalez. She and her five children were packing food boxes for the less fortunate at a church.
“I cannot do nothing about them, but I can do something about my kids,” she said. She has told her husband maybe they need to move out of Denver to the north to protect their children.
“Getting so bad. And I’m scared because of them because they’re getting older.”