Pubdate: Tue, 20 Feb 2007
Source: Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO)
Copyright: 2007, Denver Publishing Co.
Author: Charlie Brennan, Rocky Mountain News
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Gunfire rocked Ken Gorman's neighborhood early Friday evening, about 
24 hours before the shooting that took the marijuana advocate's life, 
three neighbors said Monday.

Alexandra MacKay, 79, who lives across the street from Gorman's home, 
said she called 911 Friday after seeing a man running from the house, 
firing a weapon wildly in the air. A short while later, she said, she 
watched officers arrest the gunman and a second suspect, who appeared 
to be a young teenager.

Two other neighbors said they also heard gunfire in the 1000 block of 
South Decatur Street the night before Gorman's death.

Denver police on Monday were unable to verify those reports. 
Department spokesman Sonny Jackson said he could not find any record 
of a 911 call being placed from that block or of an arrest the night 
before Gorman died.

On Friday, MacKay said, she opened her front door after hearing the 
gunfire. On Saturday evening, when she heard it again, she didn't 
even look outside.

Police found the 60-year-old Gorman dead inside his home at about 
7:30 p.m. Saturday.

"We have determined that there were a lot of people coming and going 
from the home (prior to the slaying), for various reasons," Jackson said.

But early reports that described Gorman's death as the result of a 
home invasion or attempted robbery, Jackson said, were premature.

"That has not proven out," said Jackson. "We're not sure what the 
motivation was, whether it was someone who was let in or broke in. 
It's all under investigation."

Gorman was known as an advocate of legalized marijuana in Colorado, 
and smoked pot openly during protests outside the state Capitol. He 
was featured in recent days on CBS 4 News, showing marijuana he was 
growing at his house for patients registered with the state to use 
for medical purposes.

"While I do think he was a care provider, as well as a patient, he 
certainly believed that any adult should be able to use marijuana," 
said Mason Tvert, executive director of SAFER, a group that 
successfully campaigned to legalize possession of small amounts of 
pot in Denver.

"I've been in countless meetings of patients and cooperatives and so 
on where people stood up and said. 'I know Ken, and when I was broke 
and had no money, he helped me for free.' That's how open he was 
about everything."

Perhaps too open, according to neighbor MacKay, a 17-year resident of 
the neighborhood. She liked Gorman - he was "a good man," she said - 
but had noticed he was in the habit of leaving his front door wide open.

"I really believe he may have brought this on himself," she said.

She knew about Gorman's enthusiasm for marijuana and was also aware 
of frequent comings and goings from his modest single-story brick 
home. An impromptu memorial sprouted up there Monday, including the 
remnants of a few joints tossed on the lawn, along with flowers.

MacKay said that shortly after Gorman moved in four years ago, he 
crossed the street, introduced himself - and offered her some pot.

"No, thank you," she recalls telling him. "I don't even smoke 
cigarettes. And I'm going to smoke that stuff?"

A relative of Gorman's said he is survived by an adult daughter - but 
would offer little else on his passing.

"I really don't have anything to say about this," the relative said. 
"I have not seen him for months, so I don't know what was going on 
over there. I don't know who his friends were."

In the Friday night episode, MacKay said she saw a young white man in 
a sleeveless shirt running north on Decatur Street from Gorman's home.

The gunman returned to Gorman's address a short time later, she said, 
leading to his arrest there, along with a younger man, MacKay said.

Two nights of gunfire is rare, she said.

Typically, "this is a quiet neighborhood," the frequent comings and 
goings from Gorman's house notwithstanding, she said. "On Saturday 
morning, I'm usually the only one making any noise."

MacKay is not inclined to make drastic changes, despite the weekend's trouble.

"Me move?" she said, then shook her head. "I'm not afraid of nothing."
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman