Ten injured in US shooting in Colorado, suspect arrested

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Ten people were wounded in an apparently drug-related shooting in downtown Denver on Tuesday after basketball fans poured onto city streets to celebrate the Denver Nuggets winning their first NBA championship, police said.

Two suspects were taken into custody, including one man wounded in the gunfire, which appeared to involve multiple weapons and stemmed from an altercation among several individuals, according to Denver police. They said the violence appeared to be unrelated to the basketball celebration although several fans were hurt.

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A precise motive for the shooting remained under investigation, but preliminary evidence pointed to gun violence precipitated by a conflict among illegal narcotics dealers, Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas told a news conference.

All 10 people struck by gunshots were rushed by ambulance to Denver Health Medical Center, where four underwent emergency surgery, trauma surgeon Dr. Eric Campion told reporters.

He said five patients remained hospitalized on Tuesday, all listed in fair condition, and five were discharged. All were adults - nine men and one woman, according to police.

Five handguns were recovered from the area including one taken from the wounded suspect arrested after he fled on foot and another from the car of the second suspect, police commander Matt Clark told a news briefing. He said at least 20 rounds were fired.

Police also seized “significant quantities of fentanyl pills in the area” bundled in plastic bags, Clark said, adding “there appears to be a drug nexus” to the shooting.

“Our strong belief is that this was completely unassociated with the (Nuggets victory) celebration,” Thomas said. “There were literally tens of thousands of people that were in the downtown area who were peacefully celebrating, and unfortunately there was a small group of individuals who chose to engage in some illegal behavior, and that went awry, and shots were exchanged.”

The chief said five or six of those wounded were innocent bystanders.

The shooting occurred about 1 mile (1.6 km) northeast of the arena where the Nuggets defeated the Miami Heat to win the National Basketball Association championship, the first in the franchise’s 47-year history.

The incident unfolded where a large crowd had earlier gathered to celebrate the team’s victory, though the throng had dwindled before the gunfire erupted, Clark told reporters.

After midnight the street “devolved into some physical fights and ultimately a shooting” and “a very chaotic scene,” despite the presence of about 100 police officers patrolling the area for crowd control, said Denver’s public safety director, Amando Saldate.

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