It was a brisk 30 degrees outside on the evening of Dec. 29. Despite the chill, a steady stream of people came to Lucky 13 Tattoo in Lakewood. Some came to mourn the loss of a friend. Others, to pay respects to a man they didn’t know personally.
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They left bouquets of flowers and stuffed animals. They lit candles, shed tears and shared memories of 38-year-old father of three, Danny Scofield.
Scofield, a tattoo artist also known as Dano Blair, was killed Dec. 27 in the shop where he worked. The gunman, Lyndon James McLeod, 47, was in the middle of a shooting rampage that stretched from Denver to Lakewood, ultimately taking the lives of five victims.
J.D. Rose and Joleen Fresquez came to Lucky 13 to say goodbye. Through tears, they talked about the man others have described as a gentle giant.
“I knew Dano. He was our tattoo artist and a really supportive and kind friend,” Rose said. “He was a sweetheart.”
They each have three tattoos done by Scofield. Joleen described him as the most genuinely wholesome human being with a generous spirit. She said she’d drawn the three tattoos he did for her, and finding a tattoo artist who thought her designs were perfect the way she’d drawn them was rare.
“He was your best friend the minute you walked into the shop,” Rose says. “He was endlessly supportive and soft-spoken.”
A few miles away, candles, part of another impromptu memorial, flickered in the darkness in front of the Hyatt House Hotel in Belmar. Among the flowers, keepsakes and candles rested two colorful stars with messages “be strong” and “stay strong” delivered by Josh Garcia, executive director of Stars of Hope. There also was a Disney children’s book titled “I love you this much.”
The gifts have been left to honor and remember Sarah Steck, 28, who was the last person McLeod shot before meeting his own demise at the hands of Lakewood Police Agent Ashley Ferris.
Steck worked as a desk clerk at the Hyatt House. She was critically wounded in the shooting, and died from her injuries the following day. In a joint press conference, police said they believe the gunman did not know Steck, but was possibly targeting the hotel.
A graphic artist with a gothic flair, Steck graduated with a bachelor’s of fine art in communication design at Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Communication Design Program last spring.
In her online design portfolio, Steck wrote that she’d always felt different than the people around her in terms of what she enjoyed, her interests, appearance and feelings.
“I’ve struggled as an outsider and have been labeled as the weirdo and it took a long time for me to feel okay in my own skin and to stop trying to mold myself into what our society deems as acceptable and beautiful,” she wrote.
Hyatt House’s General Manager, Andra Alvarez released a statement about Steck who’ll be remembered, among other things, for her infectious laugh.
“We are devastated by the sudden and tragic loss of our dear friend and colleague, Sarah Steck, a front desk host at Hyatt House Denver/Lakewood at Belmar,” Alvarez’s statement said. “Colleagues and guests knew Sarah for her infectious laugh and her love of kittens, art and music — especially Blink-182. But most of all, Sarah loved her boyfriend, family and friends. We will miss her terribly, and our hearts go out to Sarah’s family and friends as well as the families and friends of all the victims of the horrific act of violence that occurred on December 27, 2021.”
Hyatt House has temporarily suspended operations as the investigation continues.
As of Dec. 30, a GoFundMe account had raised more than $30,000 for Steck’s family. Donations also can be maade to support the victims, families and survivors through the Colorado Healing fund at coloradohealingfund.org.
Lakewood Police Spokesman John Romero released a statement confirming the identity of Agent Ferris, and giving additional details in the ongoing investigation.
“After shooting and killing 38-year-old Danny Schofield at the Lucky 13 tattoo shop, the 47-year-old male suspect traveled to the Belmar shopping area where he gunned down 28-year-old Sarah Steck as she worked at the Hyatt House,” Romero’s statement said. “At several points during this situation, the suspect exchanged gunfire with Lakewood and Denver Police. From there, the shooter headed to the area of Alaska and Vance when he encountered Lakewood Police Agent Ashley Ferris. Agent Ferris ordered him to drop his weapon as he approached her. The suspect ignored her commands and shot Agent Ferris, striking her in the abdomen. Agent Ferris, shot and wounded on the ground, was able to return fire on the suspect. The suspect was shot by Agent Ferris and died on scene.”
Romero said the incredible tragedy could have been worse, if it weren’t for the heroic efforts of Ferris and other law enforcement at the scene.
In Romero’s statement, Lakewood Police Chief Dan McCasky said his department’s hearts are incredibly heavy with the loss of life and injuries suffered by others during this rampage.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Cardenas, Gunn-Maldonado, Scofield, Steck and Swinyard families, as well as the families of those injured,” McCasky said.
Three other victims killed in the incident include Alicia Cardenas, 44, owner of Denver tattoo shop, Sol Tribe, Alyssa Gunn-Maldonado, 35, and 67-year-old Michael Swinyard, all of Denver.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock called the incident a terrible, heartbreaking and senseless act of gun violence and said he’s praying for those lives lost, the victims and their families.
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