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Civil rights activist draws attention to youth-on-youth violence in Aurora Juneteenth slaying

Family says Xaviyar Sturges died in Juneteenth shooting
Civil Rights activist draws attention to youth on youth violence in Aurora Juneteenth slaying
Posted at 8:42 AM, Jun 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-22 10:42:25-04

AURORA, Colo.— Family members are struggling to cope with the death of an Aurora teenager following an outbreak of gun violence on Juneteenth.

The victim, identified by family and friends as 17-year-old Xaviyar Sturges, was at Rocky Ridge Park in Aurora Friday evening, celebrating the holiday, when a gunman opened fire. He was fatally shot.

Xaviyar Sturges
Xaviyar Sturges

Sturges attended Eaglecrest High School in Centennial.

Family members say he was about to begin his senior year.

They posted a tribute video on Facebook and said Sturges loved spending time with his six siblings, cousins and extended family.

On Sunday, civil rights activist Alvertis Simmons put out a call for a vigil at the Martin Luther King statue in Denver's City Park. His goal was to draw attention to youth-on-youth violence in the community.

Only six people showed up, among them, some of Simmon's own family members.

Simmons said word on the street was that the gunman was younger than the victim.

"I hated that that young man lost his life, but the question becomes what was a 16-year-old kid doing with a gun?" Simmons said.

Denver7 asked the Aurora Police Department (APD) if the gunman was indeed 16, and whether any arrests have been made. A department spokeswoman said the investigation is still active and ongoing.

"At this time, there is not any additional information related to this case that will be released," said Crystal McCoy with APD. "An arrest has not been made at this time. When one is made, we will update our newsblog and social media."

On the night of the shooting, police said they believed it was an "isolated incident between the victim and the suspect(s)" and that there was no immediate threat to the general public.

The handful of people who showed up at City Park took a moment to pray.

They also sang a song written by Nathanial Trotter.

Trotter told Denver7 he wrote it while trying to process the violence which happened on Juneteenth, following two weeks of Black Lives Matter protests.

"It's plain and simple," he said. "One thousand people having a good time. All it took is one to mess things up."

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the victim's parents, while they grieve the loss of their son.