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Denver Yeshiva Student Gunned Down in Cross-City Crime Spree

Police in Denver are looking for a group of suspects who shot and killed a 19-year-old yeshiva student in the midst of a crime spree that left another man “battling for his life.”

Police said they got a call shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday about a carjacking in which a suspect got into a Honda CRV with the driver inside and pointed a gun at him, CBS4 reported.

A few minutes later and several blocks west, the masked suspects robbed a man walking down the street and shot him. That man, who hasn’t been identified, is “battling for his life” at a hospital, Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said.

Twenty minutes after that shooting, the suspects encountered Shmuel Silverberg as he walked out of Yeshiva Toras Chaim Talmudical Seminary, several more blocks to the west. Police said they don’t know if there was any interaction between Silverberg and the suspects, but they fired at least one gun at him. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.

“The victim was walking outside of the school when the suspects approached and began firing at the victim,” said Denver Police Commander Matt Clark.

After shooting Silverberg, the suspects burglarized a business in nearby Lakewood and stole a Toyota RAV4.

Denver police said they were looking for three vehicles connected with the investigation:

  • Maroon 2018 Honda CRV, Colorado license plate CGOW44
  • Dark blue 2020 Toyota Camry, Colorado license plate AGNZ29
  • Black 1998 Toyota RAV4, Colorado license plate QFO701

Pazen told CBS4 investigators believed the attack on Silverberg was not a bias crime but was instead a crime of opportunity as the suspects committed multiple crimes traveling from east Denver along Colfax Avenue to Lakewood. They have not ruled out bias, however, the chief said.

“We cannot allow this to become status quo,” Pazen said. “Our community is our eyes and ears. They help us to identify individuals who are responsible for crimes like this.”

Yeshiva Toras Chaim said in a statement that it is “grief stricken” by the killing.

“We are caring for our faculty, staff, students, and their families in the face of this tragic and incomprehensible act of violence,” the statement said. “We are grateful for the support we are receiving from our Denver community and from around the country, and for the work of local law enforcement authorities who have made this their top priority. Our community is seeking solace and privacy at this time.”

The Cleveland Jewish News said that Silverberg was originally from that city’s University Heights neighborhood.

Police said they were interviewing witnesses and pouring over surveillance video as they press their investigation.

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[Featured image: Shmuel Silverberg/handout]