05/10/2006

Denver officer recalled one year after shooting

Felix Doligosa Jr., Rocky Mountain News

Copyright 2006 Denver Publishing Company

The patter of rain hitting the sidewalk outside a southwest Denver nightclub Monday was interrupted by a voice on the police radio.

The dispatcher alerted officers to take a moment of silence for fallen Denver Police Detective Donald "Donnie" Young.

Some of the 150 or so people outside the Salon Ocampo bowed their heads. Others closed their eyes. In a few moments, all of them looked at the sign memorializing Young, which was erected just several feet from where he was gunned down.

Young died May 8, 2005, while working off-duty security at a private party at Salon Ocampo, 1733 West Mississippi Ave., in Denver. Denver detective John Bishop, who was working with Young that night, was wounded.

The man accused of shooting them, Raul Gomez-Garcia, had been kicked out of the party earlier in the evening. He faces charges of second-degree murder in Young's death and first-degree attempted murder of Bishop. He is set to go to trial in September.

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper attended the ceremony, saying "I don't think there was ever a person that didn't like Donnie."

"Denver was clearly a better place with Donnie," he said.

Manager of Safety Al LaCabe recalled students at Greenlee Elementary School saluting the hearse that carried Young's body to Fort Logan.

He called the gesture the "ultimate sign of respect" for a man who served the public.

Ruben Huizar, the co-owner of the Salon Ocampo, remembered how Young came by as he was painting over graffiti on the back wall of the nightclub. The detective gave him a phone number of someone who could help with cleaning graffiti.

"You just try to remember him in life," Huizar said.

Young, a 12-year veteran of the Denver police department, left behind a wife, two daughters and a son.

His widow, Kelly Young, remembers the knock on the door the night he was shot.

She remembers how hours later the police Chief Gerry Whitman came to her home to tell the bad news.

Kelly Young now has a new memory - of the day her husband's sign went up.

"He's watching down," she said. "He's probably getting a kick out of this." 
 
doligosaf@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-892-2970

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