The shooting death of Denver police officer Celena Hollis — possibly the city’s seventh gang-related slaying of 2012 — has forced talk of gangs, guns, and poverty to the fore of public conversation, the Denver Post reports. City leaders say they’re taking stock of gang-prevention programs and working to douse dangerous tensions before they escalate into the type of all-out street war that some fear. “I’m tired of this,” said Kendra Ephriam-Rudd, who lost her husband and the father of five children when gang members allegedly gunned down Deon Rudd on May 25. “When does this stop? How many people do we need to bury this year? I knew Celena. We worked with her.”
Even before the errant bullet allegedly fired by a member of a Bloods subgroup killed Hollis, community leaders in gang-plagued northeast Denver say they’ve been under siege by attacks and counterstrikes. Mayor Michael Hancock said his office has started discussions with leaders in poorer communities to find ways to better address education gaps, economic woes, and access to illegal weapons. One gang-prevention activist credited Hancock for seeking community counsel the day after Hollis’ shooting. Gang bullets felled six people in the first five months of 2012, one more person than had died by this point in 2011 and double what the city had seen by May in each of the prior three years.