REPORT: Colorado’s Deadliest Neighborhood

Flowers wrap a stop sign where Mayra Cervantes, 18, and Cesar Ramirez-Ibanez, 21, were randomly shot and killed as they hung a yard sale sign on July 6, 2008 in Colorado Springs. Their deaths would add to the toll in Colorado’s deadliest neighborhood during the 12-year span been the mass shooting tragedies at Columbine and Aurora. Census Tract 54.00, a southeastern Colorado Springs enclave  of 1960s tract houses, apartment complexes and four public schools, recorded 24 gun deaths during the period.
(Joe Mahoney/I-News Network at Rocky Mountain PBS)


Flowers wrap a stop sign where Mayra Cervantes, 18, and Cesar Ramirez-Ibanez, 21, were randomly shot and killed as they hung a yard sale sign on July 6, 2008 in Colorado Springs. Their deaths would add to the toll in Colorado’s deadliest neighborhood during the 12-year span been the mass shooting tragedies at Columbine and Aurora. Census Tract 54.00, a southeastern Colorado Springs enclave of 1960s tract houses, apartment complexes and four public schools, recorded 24 gun deaths during the period.
(Joe Mahoney/I-News Network at Rocky Mountain PBS)


COLORADO SPRINGS – Gunfire erupted without warning – a burst of rifle shots from a vehicle just 10 or 15 feet away that left two people crumpled on the sidewalk, bleeding and dying.

It was 10:51 p.m. on a Friday in June 2008, and the first sound the emergency operator heard was a scream, followed by the distraught, wrenching words of Nataly Cervantes, who’d dialed 911 seconds after the shooting.

“Please, hurry up,” she sobbed into the phone, haltingly. “Somebody shot my sister and my boyfriend. Please, hurry up.”

The woman’s sister and boyfriend had stopped on a street corner to tape up a homemade yard sale sign when they were cut down by an Iraq war veteran who derived a perverse thrill from shooting total strangers. The case would grab headlines for months, one of a series of violent crimes tied to soldiers stationed at nearby Fort Carson.

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About Kevin Vaughan

Kevin Vaughan, senior reporter at the I-News Network, is an award-winning journalist and author. Over his 25-year career he has written for the Fort Morgan Times, the Fort Collins Coloradoan, the Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post and has covered some of the state's biggest stories. Among them have been the tragedy at Columbine High School, Colorado's horrific wildfire season of 2002, the Colorado Rockies' 2007 World Series run, and the fight by Tim Masters to overturn his conviction in the murder of Peggy Hettrick. He is a 1986 graduate of Metropolitan State College, and his work has been honored numerous times. His 2007 Rocky Mountain News series, "The Crossing," which examined the lifelong reverberations of Colorado's worst traffic accident, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing. He is the co-author (with Jim Davidson) of the best-seller <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Ledge-Inspirational-Friendship-Survival/dp/0345523202">The Ledge: An Adventure Story of Friendship and Survival on Mount Rainier</a>.</em>

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