DENVER (CBS4) — One of the two men who exchanged afternoon gunfire in the busy Ballpark neighborhood near Coors Field in November 2018 was sentenced last week in federal court. Dashae Armstrong, a known gang member, was convicted of possessing a weapon. That violated federal law because Armstrong had been previously convicted of a felony.
Armstrong, 25, avoided more prison time. A judge sentenced Armstrong to the amount of time he had already served behind bars — just under two years — and added three years supervised probation.
The shooting occurred on a Monday afternoon at the intersection of 21st Street and Lawrence Street, and injured five homeless people who were nearby.
One of those five, 59-year-old Terrance Wardlow, was killed.
Police arrested Joshua Hayward, a rival gang member, the next day and charged him with attempted murder.
Hayward pleaded guilty in Denver court in June to a weapons charge and 2nd Degree Assault, and was sentenced to 16 years in the Department of Corrections.
Prosecutors from the U.S. District Attorney’s Denver office claimed during Armstrong’s case that Hayward fired first at Armstrong, and that Armstrong returned fire.
Armstrong was shot in the foot during the gunfight. At the time of his arrest, federal authorities said Armstrong had a criminal record that included drug dealing charges dating back to 2007. He was in federal court a week prior to the shooting – regarding more weapons charges.
Keeping illegal firearms out of the hands of violent criminals will continue to be a priority for @TheJusticeDept & lying on a gun purchase form can result in a felony conviction or other serious consequences, like jail time & loss of the right to possess a firearm in the future. pic.twitter.com/NOnN4x0nYZ
— Colorado U.S. Attorney (@DCOnews) October 15, 2020
Armstrong’s case was one of four last week advanced by the office of U.S. Attorney Jason R. Dunn as part of a new initiative on gun violence. Guilty pleas were obtained in the other three.
- Novan Greenwood pleaded guilty to illegal possession of ammunition he was found with at a Wheat Ridge shooting range.
- Michael Phillip Gonzales, a known gang member, pleaded to illegal possession of a weapon after police searched his vehicle in Colorado Springs and found a gun under a backpack.
- Leon Salazar pleaded guilty to illegal possession of weapons after firearms were found in his shed and in the trunk of his car, also in Colorado Springs.
All three had previous felony convictions.
Dunn announced last week that since June his office has obtained 51 indictments related to firearms as part of a concerted effort to address violent crime.