[Hpn] Cops investigate HOMELESS-BASHINGS in Colorado Springs - CO USA fw

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Fri, 22 Sep 2000 17:08:31 -0700 (PDT)


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FWD  Associated Press - AP Wire Service - Sep 20, 2000

  POLICE INVESTIGATING ATACKS ON HOMELESS IN COLORADO SPRINGS

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) _ Police investigating a series of
attacks on the homeless in this city are looking at a spate of
beatings and slayings in Denver's homeless community last year.

Though Colorado Springs and Denver police don't think they have
any common suspects, the two departments are communicating and
sharing notes, investigators said Tuesday.

``Every time we get a series of cases that are similar, we
certainly are going to look at those to see if there is any
comparison,'' said Lt. Jon Priest of the Denver Police Department.
``At this point, there doesn't appear to be any similarities (with
the Colorado Springs cases).''

Colorado Springs police believe a group of youths, armed with
rocks, knives and other weapons, is responsible for the series of
attacks. The onslaught includes the slaying of John Michael Jones,
42, of Lexington, Ky., whose body was found under a bridge Sept. 9.

Last year, seven homeless men were killed and their bodies found
near downtown Denver.

To date, only 47-year-old Melvin Washington's death has resulted
in arrests. Christopher Ball, 16, and Thomas Holden, 19, received
10 and 25 years, respectively, for his murder. Nathan Harrison, 20,
will stand trial next month for his alleged participation in the
case.

So far, Colorado Springs police only have three to five suspects
because the people who have been attacked have not been able to
give good descriptions.

``We're basing (our suspicions) upon some descriptions from
people who have either been assaulted previous to this or were in
the area of the murder that night and were attempted to be
assaulted,'' said Sgt. Rod Walker of the Colorado Springs Police
Department.

``That's really all we have right now, so far. The problem we
have is that they pick their attacks _ usually the guys are
sleeping or something like that _ and they don't have real good
descriptions,'' he said.

The group of teen suspects is an interracial group, and the
composite drawing of one of the teen-agers is being prepared, said
Walker.

AP-WS-09-20-00 1208EDT
Received  Id AP100264743E2054 on Sep 20 2000 15:07

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