Four Suspects Arrested, Fifth Sought in ‘Senseless’ Murder of Denver Yeshiva Student
Denver police announced on Thursday the arrest of four suspects in the shocking murder of an 18-year-old yeshiva student as well as series of burglaries and other offenses, while identifying a fifth individual who remains at large.
The four suspects arrested late Wednesday night — Seth James Larhode, 21, Isaiah James Freeman, 18, Aden Sides, 18, and Noah Loepp-Hall, 19 — are facing charges for a Tuesday crime spree that included the deadly shooting of Shmuel Silverberg, a student at Yeshivah Toras Chaim. Police said that another suspect, 18-year-old Samuel Fussell, is still wanted.
At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Major Crimes Division commander Matt Clark said that after examining the evidence with federal partners, police did not believe there was a “bias motivation” behind the murder, citing the “seemingly random” series of events during the spree.
“This is further supported by the statements made by the offenders who agreed to be interviewed last night and early this morning,” Clark said. “At this point no one has made mention of the victim’s religion or offered any information indicating they were targeting the school or the Jewish community.”
“We don’t know the exact motivation, other than senseless violence through multiple locations in our city and in the metro area that these individuals, we believe, are responsible for,” he continued. “We will continue to piece together the motivation behind the fact that we have a group of relatively young individuals that are willing to go on this type of rampage.”
If evidence is discovered that the homicide was bias-motivated, police said, they would not “shy away” from adding the appropriate charges.
Denver police said that the crime spree began with a carjacking at around 10:50 p.m. on Tuesday, followed by a robbery and shooting that left one person in critical condition, who remains hospitalized. At around 11:30 p.m., they believe, Silverberg was walking outside the school when the suspects approached and began firing, before following Silverberg to an “interior door inside the school,” where they shot him.
The victim was struck by several rounds and transported to an area hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. The suspects later stole another vehicle at a business.
In a statement Wednesday, Yeshiva Toras Chaim said that the community is “grief stricken at the killing of one of our students overnight.”
“We are caring for our faculty, staff, students, and their families in the face of this tragic and incomprehensible act of violence,” the school said. “We are grateful for the support we are receiving from our Denver community and from around the country, and for the work of local law enforcement authorities who have made this their top priority. Our community is seeking solace and privacy at this time.”
On Thursday, citing an interview with a Toras Chaim parent, the Orthodox news outlet Hamodia claimed that once inside the building, the suspects fired at the school principal, who was unharmed, before shooting Silverberg.
Asked about that report, a Denver Police Department spokesperson referred The Algemeiner to a press release announcing the arrests of the suspects.