Three men suspected of covering up a robbery have been arrested in connection with five homicides and arson fire at a Denver bar, police said Thursday morning.
At a televised news conference, Denver police said they arrested three men, two of whom are brothers, beginning late Wednesday night. All are expected to face five counts of first-degree murder, five counts of felony murder, and aggravated robbery and arson charges, said Ron Saunier, commander of the department’s major crimes unit.
According to Saunier, the suspects went to Fero’s Bar & Grill to rob it before 2 a.m. Wednesday as the bar was preparing to close. He said details were still being investigated.
“It appears that the motive of this crime was robbery.... I don’t want to say that it was a robbery gone bad, but it wound up being a robbery. The arson was set to try to cover up the crime scene,” Saunier said.
An officer on routine patrol noticed the fire and called in firefighters. Investigators said they think the fire had been burning for about 15 to 20 minutes before the officer spotted it.
When firefighters entered, they found the bodies of one man and four women, including 63-year-old Young Suk Fero, the bar owner.
The other victims were identified as: Daria M. Pohl, 22, of Denver; Kellene Fallon, 45, of Denver; Ross Richter, 29; and Tereasa Beesley, 45, of Denver. It was not known if any of the dead were employees of the bar or if all were patrons.
Arrested were: Dexter Bernard Lewis, 22; Joseph Hill, 27; and Lynell Jonathan Hill, 24.
At the news conference, Denver Police Chief Robert White said he was “elated” that officers were able to make quick arrests.
White thanked the numerous tips phoned in to investigators and praised the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the U.S. Marshals Service, both of which helped on the case.
“We think this is an isolated event,” White said. “There is still much work to be done.”