Andrew Bower, a junior broadcast journalism major, was staring up at the clear night sky Thursday night at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, expecting to see a flood of stars contrasted against the magnificent red rocks. Instead, he was met with helicopter flood lights circling the venue.
At the second annual Feed the Rocks show featuring Flying Lotus, Nas and ScHoolboy Q, three people were shot outside the venue, causing a complete lockdown.
According to Mark Techmeyer, a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, the shooting took place near the Trading Post, where ScHoolboy Q was entering his van after his set. Three of the four people in the van, not including ScHoolboy Q, were shot.
“As they were coming down the road from the Trading Post, a black male with a rifle stood out of the bushes and opened fire on the car,” Techmeyer said. The black male is described as being 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall.
The car kept driving towards Denver, where it was stopped by Denver police at West Sixth Avenue and Kalamath Street.
“ScHoolboy Q was out of the car and cuffed for a very short period of time before they figured out what was going on,” Techmeyer said. “But they were victims, and not bad guys at all.”
The victims were transported to Denver Medical Center with no life-threatening injuries. One of them was released this morning.
Today, police have been on the scene, with 30 to 40 personnel trying to find evidence. No arrests have been made.
“I didn’t notice anything until after the show; I tried to go out the exit that takes you to the south lots and that was completely blocked off,” Bower said. “That was where I first noticed the cops. There were so many cars packed up and a lot of them were cop cars. A few of them were armored trucks, and there was a bunch of SWAT with N16 assault rifles and I thought, ‘Damn, this is rowdy right now.”
Bower ended up having to wait in the parking lot for an hour and a half as cops searched through every car.
“I had class at 9 a.m., and they wouldn’t let us leave,” Bower said. “It was a quarantine zone for a little bit. I did make it to class, though — all three hours, no sweat.”
Miranda Carey went to the show specifically for ScHoolboy Q. Her roommate is a promoter with Feed The Rocks, an organization that partnered with and donated a portion of the concert proceeds to the Gang Rescue and Support Project (GRASP), Preserve the Rocks and Helping Our People Excel (HOPE).
“Honestly it just makes me sad,” Carey said. “I think of where our heads and hearts were at. We were there for the music, we love hip hop and we love ScHoolboy Q. And, we’re trying to raise awareness and educate against gang violence; this was kind of a kick in the face a little bit.”
It took Carey and her roommate three and a half hours to leave the park, and they only knew details of the situation by looking it up on their phones.
“We’re all together and we’re safe,” Carey said. “That’s what matters. Hopefully as time goes on we can look at it differently. Right now it’s still fresh and crazy. We went from the ultimate high to ‘Oh my God’ in a second. How does this happen again?”
Hannah Vancuren, a recent CSU graduate, got a free ticket to the show but could not recall much of the music, citing the traumatic event.
“I just went because it was free and it was going to be fun,” Vancuren said. “Most of my friends went for ScHoolboy Q, but Flying Lotus was fantastic and my favorite part. It was intense, so I remember the concert was a lot of fun, but I don’t remember much else.”
Vancuren said Flying Lotus went on at 10:30 p.m. with a spectacular lights show that made it difficult to see the helicopters circling the venue.
“The Flying Lotus set was really dark and loud,” Vancuren said. “It felt like some recombinant horror movie, EDM show and brainwashing session all in one. And, it happened at the same time of the shooting, which is really eerie.”
After waiting 45 minutes, a police officer shined a light into her car and said they were good to go. They asked for details and the officer only said the shooter was still at large.
Bower’s been to plenty of Red Rocks shows this year, including Global Dub, Bassnectar and Grammatik, and explained that there was a different atmosphere at a hip hop show.
Apart from the ensuing chaos, Bower thought the show was still incredible.
“It didn’t ruin the show at all. A lot of people left after Nas and then Flying Lotus came on,” Bower said. “I was sitting in first row for a while, just was sucking it in. It was heavy and it didn’t feel like hip hop, it felt like a electronic show. I just wished someone didn’t have to ruin the night for everyone.”
Collegian Editor in Chief Bailey Constas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.