Denver Parks & Rec worker accused in at least 2 shooting incidents

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DENVER — Denver Police say a Parks and Recreation employee is the suspect in at least two shootings that may be gang related.

They arrested Damion Baca, 33, for attempted murder Monday.

His arrest raises questions of how the city of Denver could hire someone who is an admitted gang member with an extensive criminal record that dates back 15 years.

Baca worked for the city as a utility employee for eight months.

He did work like mowing, landscaping and plowing.

But police say he armed himself with more than a shovel.

As a member of the Eastside Oldies 13 gang, he allegedly wielded a handgun and shot at at least two people, two separate times.

On Dec. 21, Police say he shot at a former rival gang member of the ChiCi 30, six times in an alley behind a house in the 3500 block of Vine St.

Then, on Jan. 10, he’s accused of shooting at someone in the 3800 block of High Street.

An arrest warrant states both times, witnesses say a man who looked like Baca was hanging out the front passenger window with a gun.

One witness said the car was a Crown Victoria, the other, a Lincoln Continental.

Baca drives a ’97 silver Lincoln sedan.

Police say Star Rivera, 31, was behind the wheel of Baca’s car when he allegedly opened fire.

And, Abel Banuelos, 33, was in the backseat during the second shooting.

Banuelos was arrested for possessing a weapon as a previous offender.

Police arrested Baca and Rivera Monday at 11th and Lipan during a traffic stop.

Baca remains in the Denver Jail. Rivera bonded out Tuesday. Banuelos was released in January.

Brooke Brookes with Denver’s Human Resources Department said they would release a statement as to how Baca could have gotten hired by the city. She claims they do background checks. But the department never responded and has ignored repeated calls for answers.

Before getting hired on full-time, several months ago, Baca was an on-call worker since 2010.