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Red Rocks shooting: Westword's Bree Davies on search, lack of info and being trapped for hours

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A photo shot by Bree Davies after last week's Red Rocks shooting.
Editor's note: Backbeat contributor Bree Davies was at Red Rocks last week when shots were fired at an SUV whose passengers included Schoolboy Q. This is her story.

When I left the Flying Lotus/Nas/Schoolboy Q show last Thursday night at Red Rocks, nothing seemed particularly out of the ordinary. My crew decided to call it quits halfway through Fly Lo's closing set so we could get out of the park easily and head home. But before reaching our car, we were greeted by dozens of police and other uniformed officers holding what looked to be M-16s.

We stopped and asked someone who looked to be a parks or park security employee what was going on. "Shots were fired," he said.

As police helicopters swarmed overhead, I took to Twitter to find out what was going on. At the time, what was being posited as a shooting at 6th and Kalamath was taking over my feed, but there was very little information on what was going on at Red Rocks. I would later learn that the incident on Kalamath was connected to the Red Rocks situation. But still, we were given nothing in the way of information about what would be our hours-long detainment by the police or the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department -- though both agencies were actively on Twitter that night.

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Photo by Bree Davies.
News outlets were reporting via Twitter that the park would be open tomorrow -- they were posting in the past tense -- so the story would be ready for readers in the morning, I assume. But that left those of us still stuck inside the park out in the cold.

Everything I came to find out -- there had been a shooting outside the amphitheater (we couldn't hear it from inside the venue and I was told those still inside were never notified of a potentially dangerous situation) and police were searching every car in the park -- came by way of other bystanders stuck in the mess. Not police.

We sat in our car for nearly three hours with no information properly given to us about what was going on or why we were being held inside the park. Once traffic did begin to move around 2:30 A.M., no cops were in sight to even help direct the multiple streams of exasperated concert-goers. I was in awe of law enforcement's silence.

When we finally reached the park exit, officers asked if we had any guns in the car. Then we were instructed to get out so they could search our car. Although I'm not versed on what is and isn't legal in this kind of situation, it seemed questionable. We obliged the search -- it was late and we were all tired. But thinking more about it in the morning, I was pretty pissed.

Being held inside your car for three hours without any information from law enforcement after an apparent shooting -- one that took place in the very area you're being held while search helicopters hover overhead, no less -- was not cool. And the fact that there are avenues like Twitter to disseminate information about our safety that weren't being used was B.S.

I don't know protocol in this situation, but I do know that from a bystander's perspective, there were many avenues of ensuring people's safety that were not used.


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26 comments
Bradford Ashington
Bradford Ashington

and u are pathetic little basement dweller with little to no clue how the real world works other than hysterical headlines from websites and blogs u parse through on the Interwebz

Ty Link
Ty Link

I agree with Jason Bosch, but people are sheep and they do what they are told, and if you stand up for urself or ur rights you are a trouble maker, hummm...funny how that is

Jason Bosch
Jason Bosch

The Constitution protects against unreasonable searches without a warrant for a reason and the rule of law in the U.S. has always been on the principle of innocent until proven guilty but increasingly incidents like this happen where everyone, regardless of reasonable suspicion, is detained and searched. This is not only unconstitutional but is setting dangerous precedent. The number of police used and the intensity of weapons (M-16s) being carried has exploded. Our police are looking and acting more like the military and that should seriously concern us. It would if people knew their history. “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” -Benjamin Franklin http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/07/militarization-local-police-america

Sean Alford Ballardo
Sean Alford Ballardo

What civil liberties? As the back of the ticket says, all concert-goers are subject to inspection. As well, the police didn't interrupt the concert to inform of the shooting to prevent mass hysteria. Should I go on? The police surely gave a short answer ("there is a situation") due to the fact that 9500 people probably asked the same question. Continuing on...no Twitter updates? The hell you say! Why, surely they could have commented on an ongoing investigation via Twitter! No, I doubt the shooter has access to a smartphone! So, I ask you, what civil liberties were lost?

sballardo672
sballardo672

Listed under Red Rocks Ampitheater Rules and Regulations: "For your safety and the safety of others, guests and their possessions are subject to inspection."  

sballardo672
sballardo672

There was no announcement so as to prevent mass hysteria.  Regarding their short response ("There is a situation") imagine you are a cop and some 9,500 concert goers are asking the same question every 30 seconds, your answer is probably going to be a little short.  As for the lack of information on Twitter, I'm sure this was done intentionally not to upset you, but rather, to limit the information the suspect had on police activities.  Get over yourself.  The police have a job far more dangerous than you have.  Whiner.

Aaron Thompson
Aaron Thompson

I was not there but from what i have heard, it sounds like it was indeed handled very shitty

Booohooo
Booohooo

Seriously? I heard gunshots inside the venue just as flylo started. Panic not needed, if gun shots had kept going then yes panic. The writer is of the ribbon generation, "I'm owed everything!"

policechokechain
policechokechain

for the assholes giving the writer crap-- did the pigs ever find the shooter? no? STFU then, you moronic pig apologists

GMike Garcia
GMike Garcia

I wish i was thr i would file a lawsuit as Ben Franklin said " They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Civil rights were violated and who ever thinks that was alright doesn't deserve them police cant do whatever they want cuz they have a badge

Dean Harris
Dean Harris

Gee, life's tough.... but it's tougher when you're stupid.

Jeni Grizzard
Jeni Grizzard

My boyfriend and I were there, they didn't ask us to get out, they just looked in with a flashlight. But when we asked what was going on all they would say is "there's a situation ".... no shit.

Jason Bosch
Jason Bosch

Most Americans are ignorant of history, even their own. Particularly white Americans. We have never had to personally experience the corruption of power that people in other countries have and people of color here at home always have so it's not surprising to hear priviledged people defending the expansion of police powers and growing militarization. They are foolishly willing to give up their civil liberties because they don't know what life is like living without them and the police have historically protected them but times they are a changin'.

Ganjedi420
Ganjedi420

Well, as much as folks here seem to think that what the police did was ok, it wasn't. Police can't just declare marshal law because of a shooting. It doesn't work that way. They also can't just start searching people's cars without reasonable suspicion that a crime is occurring inside. I understand that people think that they're trying to be helpful, but we have a legal system in America and if we continue to let it be trampled arbitrarily, it'll soon be totally eroded. Then we can all live like they do in countries like China or N Korea. This isn't a police state, yet. 

I get it. I really do. We all want the bad guys to get caught, but we can't trample the good guys to get the job done.

NayNay Darko
NayNay Darko

Awwww, did the bad cops say mean things to you... Wah. Wah.

Justine Espino
Justine Espino

She'd rather they had just let everyone out without searching for the gunman? Or that they stop the concert INSIDE to announce there was a shooting OUTSIDE and cause widespread panic? Doesn't matter how it was handled, someone was going to complain about it.

Dave Childers
Dave Childers

This person needs to read up on investigations. Police will not disclose any information while a investigation is on going. The mentioning of not disclosing anything on Twitter is just dumb. If you really wanted to know go ask the police yourself and don't worry about twitter.

Karen Christie
Karen Christie

They were actively looking for a shooter. Doesn't help their cause to tweet their movements. Bad guys have smart phones too.

Tim Sparhawk
Tim Sparhawk

Of course she isn't! Does the headline cops did a Neato job really sell papers or get hits on your webpage?

policechokechain
policechokechain

clearly you didnt get the point of her story. You wouldnt be so catty if this happened to you

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