At least 10 people were wounded in a mass shooting early Tuesday in Denver in an area where basketball fans had been celebrating the Nuggets‘ first NBA title win, police said.
Police said the shooting was likely sparked by a drug deal gone wrong. It left 10 people wounded, including one of two suspected shooters. Police Chief Ron Thomas said Tuesday that all of the injured are expected to survive. That includes five or six people police believe were bystanders not involved in the drug deal.
The gunfire broke out around 12:30 a.m. — about 3½ hours after the game. Police said 20 rounds were fired at the scene, roughly a mile from Ball Arena, where the Nuggets defeated the Miami Heat on Monday night.
The wounded suspect, a man, has been taken into custody by the Denver Police Department.
“As far as what led up to this altercation that resulted in the shots being fired, that’s still under investigation at this time,” police spokesperson Doug Schepman said. “It did occur in the area where we had the largest gathering of folks celebrating during the night.”
Yellow police tape sealed off the area overnight Tuesday as investigators scoured the scene, which was dotted with evidence markers and what appeared to be detritus left over from the celebrations, including an electric scooter and a green rental bike.
A small crowd was in the area at the time of the shooting, Schepman said, but had “diminished quite a bit at that point.” Schepman said the shooting was in a spot where a lot of people might have come out of bars after the game.
Police were interviewing witnesses, and Schepman described the ongoing investigation as “expansive.”
Eight people were hospitalized at Denver Health Medical Center — one in critical condition, one in fair and six in good condition, spokesperson Heather Burke said. She said questions about the two additional wounded people should be directed to police.
Schepman said police had beefed up their presence in the area in advance of the celebration.
“We had a lot of officers in that immediate area of 20th and Market when the shooting occurred, which is why the response to it was so quick,” he said.
The city has set a celebratory parade in downtown Denver for Thursday morning.
Information from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this report.