Rollin Oliver: First-degree murder/extreme indifference charge in Celena Hollis murder (12)

Categories: Crime, News

celena hollis.jpg
Celena Hollis.
Update: Rollin Oliver, 21, was born on Christmas Day -- but what he just received from the Denver District Attorney's Office can't be considered an early gift.

He's now been formally charged with first-degree murder/extreme indifference in the City Park slaying of Denver police officer Celena Hollis -- and the DA's office is now sharing a few details about what took place.

According to the DA's office, Oliver had been involved in an altercation toward the end of a June 25 jazz concert at the park, at which point he fired multiple rounds into a crowded area. One of the shots struck the head of Officer Hollis, a single mother, president of the Black Police Officer's Association and, by the accounts shared on Sunday at a City Park concert and vigil in her honor, a person beloved by her family, friends and colleagues.

Photo by Nathan Federico
Denver Police Chief Robert White and Mayor Michael Hancock at the vigil for Celena Hollis on Sunday.
The context suggests that Oliver wasn't aiming for Hollis, but his bullet found her anyway -- and if she hadn't been hit, someone else in the crowd filing out of the park at the conclusion of the show easily might have been.

At this point, no mug shot of Oliver has been released, leaving us with only photos from his Facebook page that media organizations have been partially obscuring at the request of investigators, whose work is not yet done. Indeed, the DA's office requests that eyewitnesses -- and particularly anyone who might have taken a snapshot or cell-phone pic on the fateful night -- contact Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867). The probable cause statement that led to Oliver's arrest also remains sealed.

In the meantime, Oliver is being held without bond. He's due in court at 8:30 a.m. July 5 to be formally advised of the charges against him.

Look below to read our previous coverage.

Update, 7:14 a.m. June 26: More information is emerging about Rollin Oliver, the man arrested following the fatal shooting of Denver Police officer Celena Hollis after a jazz event at City Park on Sunday night -- including increasingly solid reports establishing his gang affiliation. Not that this link offers much comfort to Hollis's family, colleagues and friends, who are still reeling from another senseless act of violence in a summer that's already seen far too many of them.

As we reported below, Hollis, who moved to Denver from Detroit in 2005 and was a single mother and president of the Black Police Officers Association, had worked the Jazz in the Park concert series for several years. Then, just as the music ended after 8 p.m. on Sunday evening, a fight broke out between what are characterized as "two groups" -- the police have studiously avoided confirming that they were members of rival gangs. In trying to calm the frenzy, Hollis was shot in the head, dying a short time later.

Oliver was busted shortly thereafter, and since then, the media has scrambled for details about him in a sea of misinformation, even about the spelling of his first name. The DPD originally gave it as "Rollen," although many local outlets have now settled on "Rollin," perhaps because that's how he lists himself on his Twitter feed -- a little-used account that features tweets that both use violent language and contradict it. An example of the former....

And the latter....

A 7News report suggests that the photos on Oliver's Twitter feed, as well as those shared on a Facebook page listed under the name "Boogie Oliver," show him throwing gang signs. In fact, the photos in question find him pointing to his T-shirt, which touts Park Hill, where he lives. Here's a look at one of them:

rollin oliver fox 31.jpg
However, the Facebook reference to Oliver's work as "treasurer" at "Park Hill Pharmaceutical" hints at a sideline slingin' drugs. (His rather minor arrest record includes a marijuana possession accusation in 2009, in addition to a weapon charge from a couple of years earlier, when he was a juvenile.) And Fox31's Julie Hayden reports that sources have confirmed to her that Oliver admits to membership in a specific (though thus-far unnamed) local gang.

CBS4's Brian Maass offers more details in his report, including a jail admittance form on which Oliver allegedly admitted gang ties -- something confirmed to Maass by people inside and outside of the police department.

If the gang connection is genuine, why hasn't the Denver Police admitted it, rather than dancing around the subject at a news conference yesterday? One theory: The department wants to avoid the sort of public frenzy that a "Summer of Violence II" label would likely ignite. But a fact is a fact, and if Oliver was indeed gang-affiliated -- and if plenty of other shootings in the area this summer have also been gang-related -- the DPD is merely postponing the inevitable.

In the meantime, times and dates have been finalized for Hollis's funeral and burial services, and an account has been established so that folks can donate to help support the child she left behind. See all of that below, followed by a statement from the Black Police Officers Association, the CBS4 report, the full press conference courtesy of 9News and our previous coverage.

Service and donation information:

A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, June 30, 2012, at 1100 hours at:
Denver First Church of the Nazarene
3800 E. Hampden Avenue
Englewood, CO 80113

Interment follows at:
Fairmount Cemetery
430 S. Quebec Street
Denver, CO 80247

Donations for Officer Hollis' daughter and family can be made to:
Celena Hollis Memorial Fund
Account Number 23012705
Rocky Mountain Law Enforcement FCU
700 W. 39th Avenue
Denver, CO 80216

Black Police Officers Association statement:

Celena Hollis was an outstanding member of the DPD, but she was so much more than a police officer. She was a great friend, mother, sister, and daughter. Celena was the light of her family. Her smile warmed everyone's heart and she brought a smile to everyone's face. She had wisdom beyond her years and it showed in her personal, as well as her professional relationships.

Before Celena came to our DPD family, she lived in Detroit and worked as a Detroit Police Officer for 4 years. She came out to Denver in 2005 and began a new career with the DPD. She didn't come alone; she brought her beautiful daughter Amyre. Her baby, Amyre, was the light of her world. She did everything with her in mind. She like so many other single moms focused on making her child's life better. She took her on trips and vacations all over the place and they enjoyed each other; they were friends...the best of friends.

She loved her family. She was a mentor, friend and role model to her sister. She was the heart of her family and loved them all dearly. They always came first and were a central part of what Celena focused on in life.

I personally met Celena, when she came out to Denver and rode in my district, before she had been hired. From our initial meeting, I liked Celena and we became great friends. Celena was an active participant in our organization and was our current president. She had helped to refocus the organization and take us to new heights. We will miss her spark, leadership, and enthusiasm.

Celena was my friend and she had her family, but she was part of our family, the DPD family. With that she got 1400+ brothers and sisters. She will be missed and will always be loved by her second family, here at DPD.

Thank You on behalf of the Hollis family for your support and condolences during this time.

Page down for our previous coverage.

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