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By Howard Pankratz
The Denver Post

DENVER - The response by Denver police to a firefight in LoDo on June 22 in which a man was killed was praised today by Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey.
Morrissey warned that anyone engaging in similar activity in the future can expect a tough response from authorities.
Killed by police around 1:51 a.m. in a parking lot in the 1800 block of Market Street was Mark Tabullo. Police also wounded Andres Junior Castillo.
Morrissey said that Police Sgt. Vince Lombardi and Officer Jason Simmons, both gang officers, were patrolling the area as hundreds of people left numerous nightclubs in the early hours of June 22.
He said the officers were alerted to a gunfight between Tabullo, Castillo and a third party.
As they approached, Castillo swung the pistol-grip, 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun around and fired a blast at the uniformed officers, said the district attorney.
The shotgun blast tore through the stomach area of the shirt of Simmons, who was about 15 feet away from Castillo but was not injured.
Lombardi and Simmons returned the fire, striking Castillo. Castillo, although shot, then gave the gun to Tabullo.
Tabullo aimed the gun at the officers, who immediately fired at him.
Morrissey said the officers were justified in protecting themselves and the dozens of people in the vicinity.
He noted that at least five bystanders were struck by the shotgun blasts fired by Castillo, although their wounds were not life threatening.
"When someone brings a fully loaded, pistol-grip shotgun to LoDo, in our city, it is reasonable to conclude they are not there to enter a skeet-shooting contest," wrote Morrissey.
"When the weapon is indiscriminately fired repeatedly in a crowded parking lot, in our city, endangering the lives of scores of our citizens, the assailant should expect to be shot."
Morrissey added: "Denver's message to criminals is, 'Don't come to our city with firearms and bad intentions.' "
The district attorney, in the letter sent to numerous Denver officials, including the mayor and City Council members, spoke frankly about the problems in LoDo.
He said that the police department saturates the area in the early-morning hours to help control crowds leaving the clubs.
"Increased saturation of officers is intended to prevent violence and property destruction and to intervene quickly if such acts occur," said the district attorney.
"Hundreds of people flow into the streets and parking lots at this time and, according to officers, problems are not uncommon."
Here, he said, Lombardi and Simmons acted with great courage.
"When they heard the shots being fired, Sgt. Lombardi and Officer Simmons immediately ran directly to the location of greatest danger, while citizens were running away and running for cover. The officers put themselves in harm's way to protect the scores of citizens in the immediate vicinity of the gunfight."
The third party fled the scene and has not been caught.
Castillo faces charges of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault and second-degree assault.

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