Martin Trusty busted for Santa Fe arts district murder, debate over area's safety (62)

martin trust mug shot cropped.jpg
Big photos below.
Last week, we told you about a fatal assault on Darwin Brown outside a lovely boutique in the Santa Fe arts district; see our previous coverage below.

Now, 48-year-old Martin Trusty has been arrested in relation to the crime, which has prompted a debate about the safety of the area at times other than First Fridays.

As we've reported, Brown, who'd previously made headlines in 2011 for allegedly stealing a truck while its owner was sleeping in the back, was assaulted outside Rakun, which Westword presented with the 2012 Best of Denver award as "Best Santa Fe Drive Boutique." He subsequently died of his injuries.

rakun facebook 2.jpg
A photo from Rakun's Facebook page.
Rakun may seem like an improbable place for a violent crime to take place, but one reader argues otherwise in a post that we featured as a recent Comment of the Day. It reads:
I live in this neighborhood, and while yes it can be charming...it can turn quite scary in an instant.... The establishments in the area only feed the problem, but what is more alarming is that the police only seem to clean up the mess once one has been made.

Despite regularly stopping at the 7-11 to fill up on whatever Denver's finest fill up on, the police fail to dissuade these groups of homeless men from forming, getting ridiculously intoxicated, and then proceeding to do what any group of drunk males do...fight.

I'm not advocating for a police state, but there are three schools, four churches, and six day cares in walking distance of this place. And as everyone knows, many of Denver's homeless suffer from untreated mental illnesses. This is a recipe for disaster: so no I am not shocked this happened.

It seems that the city could care less that these groups use Sante Fe as their open air bar, brothel, and bathroom. That is unless, its First Friday, when they help us sweep it under the rug so mom and dad won't see. For all that the Sante Fe Art District offers to the city, it would be nice if the city's brass would offer a little back.

Adds another reader:
I've got to agree 100% with you. I'm in the Baker neighborhood, and am often embarrassed by the Santa Fe strip. For a supposed success story, the neighborhood looks terrible during the day. The buildings are more dilapidated than not, the homeless population is huge, and it's not the type of place that anyone would want to be other than on First Friday. Baker has been constantly on the edge of "breaking out," but I'm afraid I just don't see it happening as long as Santa Fe lags so far behind the development on Broadway.
Against this backdrop, the Denver Police Department zeroed in on Trusty (he's reportedly had plenty of past run-ins with the law, mainly in relation to burglary and drugs) as a suspect in the Brown slaying, releasing a crime alert. And early on February 23, officers took Trusty into custody. He's being held for investigation of first-degree murder.

This arrest will likely cause folks in the Santa Fe arts district to breathe easier. But that doesn't mean the discussion about dangers in the area is over. Here's a larger look at Trusty's booking photo.

martin trusty mug shot.jpg
Martin Trusty.
Continue to read our previous coverage about the murder of Darwin Brown.


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11 comments
habitatgallery
habitatgallery

Elati has some good points.  While I applaud the efforts that a group of artists and other creative small business owners and nonprofits have accomplished in the area the past 10 years the fact remains that the neighborhood remains one of the most neglected in terms of support for infrastructure and other improvements. 

To that end the neighborhood has banded together to create La Alma Action, a neighborhood task force, to speak as one voice to gain support for major area improvements such as wider sidewalks and taming the traffic along Santa Fe Drive to 2 lanes with improved amenities.  A vision plan complete with a scale model of what the area can become has been prepared, and we now look to gain support of the city and state to implement it.  The plan and model can be viewed at local architectural firm Hangar41 at 825 Santa Fe Drive.

While Santa Fe Drive has made great strides the fact that a lovely new shop like Racun sits next to a liquor store that has been there longer than the artists is part of the challenge of this landscape.  It's the new versus the old in many ways and the transition is still taking place.   We love and respect the history of the area - to a point.  A history that encourages drinking and poverty is not acceptable to the newcomers, nor should it be.  Our goal is to raise the level of the entire neighborhood and if that means an old local liquor store that remains a magnet for homeless has to go, then it has to go.  To that end a halo camera was recently installed to keep an eye on that store and the activities around it.

It's remarkable that the creatives have accomplished what they have with a volunteer board and a vision.  The Art District on Santa Fe was crowned one of two Colorado Certified Creative Districts and won a Mayors Award  for Arts and Culture in 2012.  The area recently saw the reactivation of Civic Theatre, Metro States Center for Visual Arts moved here, the Colorado Ballet is renovating a building at 11th and Santa Fe, Battery 621 restored an former eyesore building at 6th and Kalamath, a new brew pub and pizzeria is coming at 5th and Santa Fe, and Space gallery recently broke ground on a new Redline-style building at 4th and Santa Fe. 

The area is still growing and getting better each day, by and through the efforts of its creative industry.  Now if we can get some state and city buy-in for some infrastructure improvements down here we can make this area the real jewel that those that created and those that visit the Art District deserve.  A recent bill supported by HR Crisanta Duran supports the use of creative industry funds for infrastructure improvements.  HB 13-1208 has moved out of committee and we hope it is supported by the full state legislature and becomes law.  That would be one more tool towards a true neighborhood living street in the art district.  This July 19 and 20 the art district area will hold a better-block type event showing just what wider sidewalks and prettier streets would look like.

Here's hoping that a clean looking street with sidewalk cafes is not too far off.


~ Jack D. Pappalardo, Pres. of Denver's Art District on Santa Fe

Elati
Elati

I live in this neighborhood, and while yes it can be charming....it can turn quite scary in an instant. Rico is right, the establishments in the area only feed the problem, but what is more alarming is that the police only seem to clean up the mess once one has been made. 

Despite regularly stopping at the 7-11 to fill up on whatever Denver's finest fill up on, the police fail to dissuade these groups of homeless men from forming, getting ridiculously intoxicated, and then proceeding to do what any group of drunk males do...fight. 

I'm not advocating for a police state, but there are three schools, four churches, and six day cares in walking distance of this place. And as everyone knows, many of Denver's homeless suffer from untreated mental illnesses. This is a recipe for disaster: so no I am not shocked this happened. 

It seems that the city could care less that these groups use Sante Fe as their open air bar, brothel, and bathroom. That is unless, its First Friday, when they help us sweep it under the rug so mom and dad won't see. For all that the Sante Fe Art District offers to the city, it would be nice if the city's brass would offer a little back. 

Rico
Rico

"we don't know why Brown and his assailant were near Rakun late Monday afternoon"

Unfortunately, Rakun is located on the same block as a 7-11 and a liquor store, where a group of vagrants panhandle daily and then proceed to pass out on steps of neighboring businesses.

CHEETS
CHEETS

It appears one criminal was taken off the streets by another criminal. Soon enough that criminal will get it from another. The circle will continue on forever as it has since the beginning of man. 

Armando Provencio
Armando Provencio

Why is the first half of this article written like an ad for a boutique shop? Is it to give the actual murder a homey feel?

Gerard Veilleux
Gerard Veilleux

whats the big fkin deal,another scum bag thief, who made the news last year is dead. Whipity ding dang

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

Do your OWN WORK,

 YOU LAZY PIECE OF SHIT COPS !!!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Darwin ... quite prophetic.


theglobalguy
theglobalguy

@Elati I've got to agree 100% with you.  I'm in the Baker neighborhood, and am often embarrassed by the Santa Fe strip.  For a supposed success story, the neighborhood looks terrible during the day.  The buildings are more dilapidated than not, the homeless population is huge, and it's not the type of place that anyone would want to be other than on First Friday.  Baker has been constantly on the edge of "breaking out", but I'm afraid I just don't see it happening as long as Santa Fe lags so far behind the development on Broadway.  

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Elati Very interesting post, Elati. We're going to make it an upcoming Comment of the Day. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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