Society

At Least 2 People Shot at Denver 4/20 Marijuana Rally

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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Authorities are searching for two suspects after several people were shot during a pro-marijuana rally in Denver at Saturday's 4/20 celebration.

A man and a woman were each shot in the leg. Both suffered non-life threatening wounds, Denver authorities said. The man’s dog was also shot.

The annual rally is the first since Colorado became the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The incident took place as festivities were winding down.

"I heard five or six gunshots in quick succession," said 27-year-old Cole Wagenknecht, who attended the rally. "That's why I knew it wasn't fireworks. Then everybody started to scatter and ran toward one end of the park."

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Local media reported that a third person was grazed by the gunfire.

Sonny Jackson, spokesman for the Denver police, said one or two suspects are being sought. They asked attendees to turn over any photos or videos of the shootings.

He said the police do not have a motive for shootings.

The rally at the downtown Civic Center Park was part of marijuana-related festivities that including classes on hashish making and cooking with cannabis.

The shootings took place around 5 p.m.

"I saw him fall, grabbing his leg," said Travis Craig, 28, who saw the man fall to the ground and help use a belt to tourniquet his leg.

"He was just screaming that he was in pain, and wanted to know where his girlfriend was. She was OK. And then the cops showed up real quick, like, less than a minute. They put him on ambulance and left."

Because the recent legalization of marijuana in the state, the Colorado rally was expected to draw as many as 80,000 people this year. Tightened security measures were taken after the events at the Boston Marathon last week.

"We're aware of the events in Boston," said Denver police spokesman Aaron Kafer. "Our message to the public is that, if you see something, say something."

Smart Colorado, an advocacy group that opposes marijuana proliferation, said in a statement that the celebration on April 20 would "send a clear message to the rest of the nation and the world about what Colorado looks like."

"Does the behavior of the participants in these events reflect well on our state?" asked Henny Lasley, the head of Smart Colorado.

An organizer for the rally, Miguel Lopez, said the event was the "world's largest 4/20 rally." He said the rally was a "grassroots" effort to end the prosecution of pot users by the federal government.

Sources: USA Today, Yahoo!