Alicia Cardenas, owner of Denver’s Sol Tribe Custom Tattoo and Body Piercing, has been confirmed dead by her family. Cardenas is among the victims of Monday night’s shooting spree across Denver and Lakewood.
A collection of flower bouquets and candles accumulated Tuesday morning outside the tattoo shop where her father, Alfredo Cardenas, confirmed his daughter’s death in the shooting when he came to drop off a candle and flowers.
Alfredo Cardenas said he found out about the incident Monday night when his son informed him there had been a shooting outside Sol Tribe Custom Tattoo and Body Piercing and he feared the worst. Police confirmed to the family that Alicia Cardenas had died in the shooting, Alfredo Cardenas said.
Alicia Cardenas was 44-years-old and a loving mother to a 12-year-old, said stepmother Carol King.
“She was greatly involved in the Mesoamerican traditions and dances,” Alfredo Cardenas said. “She was part of the community — drummers, dancers, ceremonies. She was well loved. She was a real go-getter, a real dynamo, a leader. She kind of set the pace for upscale tattoo shops. She was respected by the tattoo community and other communities.”
Sol Tribe Custom Tattoo and Body Piercing is located near the intersection of East First Avenue and Broadway — the first place the suspected shooter, who has not yet been identified, began what Denver police called a “killing spree.”
Cardenas described herself as a “true Denver Native” in her biography on Sol Tribe Custom Tattoo and Body Piercing’s website, adding that she was a “proud Indigenous artist born and raised in the city who’s been working in the Denver body modification industry for nearly her entire life.”
Cardenas started working in the body modification industry when she was 16, opening her first tattoo shop in 1997 in Capitol Hill, Twisted Sol, the biography said. In 2009, Cardenas moved the shop to its current Broadway location and opened Sol Tribe.
Cardenas described herself as a mural artist and a cultural anthropologist who paints “ancient-inspired geometric murals” around the city, the biography said.
Additionally, Cardenas teaches safety classes for the body art industry, according to the biography.
“She is very passionate about bringing ancient ritual and blood rites into the modern era and is on a lifetime journey to educate everyone she can about them, as well as facilitate their practice,” read Cardenas’ biography on the tattoo shop website.
The shooting began around 5 p.m. Monday when the suspect shot and killed two women and wounded a man near the intersection of East First Avenue and Broadway, near the Sol Tribe shop.
The suspect traveled to multiple locations across the city, shooting as he went — the Cheesman Park neighborhood, near the Denver Health hospital campus, Lakewood’s Belmar district.
The suspect is believed to have killed four people and wounded at least three others including a Lakewood police officer who required surgery Monday night, according to John Romero, a Lakewood Police Department spokesman. Romero’s comments about the violence came at a news conference Monday night held just across the street from Belmar, which Lakewood bills as its downtown.
A motive for the violence was not yet determined, police said.
Additional information about the victims, suspect and crime will be updated as more becomes available.
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