Suspect held in fatal shooting of Denver officer
Monday, June 25, 2012
DENVER (AP) — A 21-year-old man was arrested for investigation of first-degree murder after a veteran Denver policewoman who was raising her 12-year-old daughter alone was shot and killed during a free jazz festival, police said Monday.
Suspect Rollen Oliver was taken into custody late Sunday after witnesses gave a description of the gunman. Police also recovered a gun and said they believe Oliver was the only person involved in the attack.
Police Chief Robert White said investigators were not sure if Officer Celena Hollis was the target of the shooting when she answered a call about a disturbance in the park.
“There was a tragic event last night and a beautiful young, single mother and a valuable member of the Denver Police Department lost her life,” Public Safety Manager Alex Martinez said.
Authorities said they did not know the cause of the disturbance.
Hollis was in uniform and off-duty when she was shot in the head and later died at a hospital.
The park remained closed while police searched for more evidence.
At least three shots were fired Sunday shortly after a jazz band finished playing on a lake-side pavilion stage. Concert-goers scattered during the shooting.
More than 1,000 people were at the City Park Jazz concert, the fourth of 10 shows scheduled for this summer in the annual series that draws families and others to one of the city’s more popular summer events. The mayor said late Sunday the concerts should continue.
“We will not surrender what we consider special in this city to anyone,” Mayor Michael Hancock said.
After shots rang out, scores of people ran from the northwest side of the pond and stage area, confusing crowds on the south side of the pond that were still lingering over conversation and picnics in lawn chairs and blankets.
Someone announced from a loudspeaker on stage that the park was closed and told park goers to leave from the south side.