It happens time and time again. When guns get drawn and shots are fired, an innocent bystander seems to get gunned down as often as the intended targets. That is exactly what happened in Denver, Colorado, in an incident that left a little girl riddled with bullets.
Eight-year-old Sierra Moore was walking down the street with her teenage aunt at around 7 p.m. on a Friday night, in the Curtis Park area of Lower Downtown Denver. That’s when the night was pierced by the sound of gunshots. Witnesses in a nearby fast food restaurant describe hearing six shots. They then saw a girl running down the street and screaming for help as she carried a child in her arms.
As is so often the case, Sierra would turn out to be the only victim in the shooting, in an incident where the shooter claims the shots were fired in self-defense. Police would arrest the gunman 72 hours later. The local man, Daniel Lujan, claims he fired the shots to protect his family. Lujan claims that he was in his green Ford Explorer with his fiancée, 19-year-old Victoria Esparza, and his 8-month-old daughter, Dynasty, who was in the backseat, when he saw three men walking toward his vehicle. He says one of the
men pulled a gun and then pointed it at the Ford.
“And I pulled mine out the window and I let go–boom, boom, boom. Because I’ve seen the gun and my daughter is in the backseat. There was nothing else…what else am I going to do? Pullover and let him shoot me? And then what? My daughter gets hit?” Lujan said in a television interview. He admitted to firing wildly, saying “I didn’t check my surroundings. I didn’t do nothing.”
Sierra, who was hit several times by the .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun Lujan was firing, had to undergo several
surgeries. She was recovering at Denver Health Medical Center.
In a jailhouse interview, Mr. Lujan apologized repeatedly for shooting the little girl. “Everything’s just bad right now,” he told reporters. “I was just trying to protect myself and my family. I didn’t mean to hit that little girl.” He added: “I just want to tell her I’m sorry. And I’ll be a big brother to her. I just want them to try to get me the highest probation, like home security. You know what I’m saying? I just want to be home. I’m not that person I just did it because of the safety reasons.”
Lujan was being held on $250,000 bond on investigation for 4 counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of aggravated assault. He could face decades in prison if
convicted. His fiancé was also arrested and held on $100,000 bond. Police also arrested a third person, Guillermo Ornelas on a weapons charge. Lujan _13aid a man known as “Gitmo” was the one who confronted him with a gun, but police declined to say whether Ornelas was the person he was referring to.
Both Ornelas and Lujan are known gang members. Lujan said he joined the ‘Oldies 13 Eastside’ gang when he was 12-years-old. He had previously been arrested several times as a juvenile, including one arrest for assaulting a police officer.