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Investigators walking through blue cones marking spent shell casings.
One man was killed and five other people were injured when a shooting erupted at the corner of East Colfax Avenue and Verbena Street around 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022. Three people are in critical condition and two are stable, Denver Police officials say. (Jeremy Sparig, Special to The Colorado Sun)

One man was killed and five people were wounded Tuesday afternoon when three assailants opened fire with handguns outside of a market in east Denver, police said. 

Three people are in critical condition and two are stable with injuries that are not life threatening, according to the Denver Police Department. The shooting happened on the 1400 block of Verbena Street, near East Colfax Avenue, shortly before 2 p.m., police said.

Four men and two women were standing on the sidewalk near a market on East Colfax Avenue when three people got out of a car near the intersection and fired multiple rounds from handguns toward them, Cmdr. Matt Clark of the Denver Police Department’s major crimes unit said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon. Then, the three people got back inside the car and fled, he said.

“They were just standing on the sidewalk, no apparent conflict there,” Clark said.

Police are still working to determine a motive for the shooting and are unsure if the assailants knew the victims, Clark said. He did not identify the man who was killed. 

Denver police initially said there were six victims and then updated the count to five. They later clarified that six people were shot.

Clark could not provide a description of the shooters, but police are looking for a black SUV that investigators believe they got inside after abandoning the car they were inside during the shooting. 

“We’re extremely concerned,” Clark said. “It’s a heavily, heavily populated area. It’s absolutely concerning that this occurred in broad daylight.”

The shooting happened in a part of the city where police have assigned a higher number of patrol and undercover officers due to known levels of violence, he said. 

Police are interviewing several witnesses and are asking anyone with information on the shooting to contact the department. 

Olivia Prentzel covers breaking news and a wide range of other important issues impacting Coloradans for The Colorado Sun, where she has been a staff writer since 2021. At The Sun, she has covered wildfires, criminal justice, the environment,...