AURORA, Colo. — A mother is pleading for someone to come forward nearly six months after her 13-year-old son was murdered outside the Town Center at Aurora mall.
It's been an unbearable time for Tabatha Denney.
"There's honestly no words for the way I feel. I am completely broken,” she said.
The Aurora Police Department said the shooting happened on March 25 around 8 p.m. — closing time at the mall — in the parking lot outside Dillard’s on the south side of the mall. The incident began as an altercation in the food court, according to Interim Aurora Police Chief Art Acevedo.
As off-duty officers responded to the scene, shots rang out in the parking lot. One of those officers attempted CPR on the victim before paramedics arrived and took him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was later identified as Phoenix Tyler Day, 13.
"He was 13 years old. He was just a child. He didn't deserve what happened to him, regardless of the situation,” Denney said.
The Aurora Police Department (APD) and Metro Denver Crime Stoppers on Wednesday announced an increased reward of $10,000 for information regarding Day's death.
In an update Wednesday, Metro Denver Crime Stoppers said APD's Major Crimes Homicide Unit has made "significant progress" in identifying potential leads.
Authorities are asking for the public's help in identifying several people who witnessed the shooting or may have vital information and have not yet been contacted by detectives.
"If the shoe was on the other foot, they would want somebody to come forward. You don't have to say who you are. They've made it that easy. You know, just please, please anything,” Denney said. “They're not even willing to say what they’ve seen. All of what happened that day is important.”
While being strong is tough, Denney said she refuses to give up and needs to be there for her three other children.
"Just hug your babies. I don't know what to say. Love them. Don't give up hope, even if they are struggling,” she said.
While Day may not be here in person, Denney carries him everywhere she goes through a necklace that holds his ashes.
“We all have one. It says, 'Always with me. I love you for always,'” Denney said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867 or submit tips online through MetroDenverCrimeStoppers.com. Tipsters can remain anonymous.