SPEED OF FIRE IN DENVER: Workers at a restaurant where the shooting ended still trying to heal

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR) – A gunman killed five people between Denver and Lakewood on December 27, and much of the community is still healing.

Just over a week after the reopening, things are back to normal at Rock Wood-fired Pizza restaurant at Belmar Shopping Center. However, reminders of the terrifying shooting remain as the boarded up windows.

The Rock was where a wave of violent crime ended, so just making pizza again is progress after their workplace feels unsafe.

“It was very traumatic for the staff,” said Eric Stevens, restaurant manager. “Some people who have been with me for almost 10 years felt like it was home, and they were a little scared to come home, which is a really, really lousy experience. You know, you don’t want to be afraid to come home.

Stevens received a call from an employee during the incident.

“Lots of screaming, loud screaming, just frightened voices. Just, you know, the gentleman was telling me like people were shooting people running – what should I do, where should I go? Stevens recounts during the call.

Bullets shattered the restaurant windows, but not their minds.

“This week,” Stevens said. “Getting to the point where they could laugh and have fun and not look over their shoulder all the time. It has been a process for sure.

None of Eric’s employees were hurt, they know they were lucky; But the trauma of the incident persists.

“I had a young woman who was six months pregnant, that is to say six months pregnant. They were on bogus work, due to the stress of the event. She has been able to come back since then, a very brave young woman, ”Stevens said. “All the staff are extremely courageous. ”

Stevens said the support of the Lakewood community would help them heal.

“When the going gets tough, the tough guys come together,” Stevens said.

The damage will eventually cost them $ 15,000 to $ 20,000, but Stevens said the mental health of his employees was always the priority.

Steven said his staff took advantage of mental health assistance from the resource center set up by the City of Lakewood, allowing people to decompress from this devastating tragedy.

“There have been long-term impacts, financially speaking. You know, we’ve seen a drop in business over the last week and a half. And then, like you said, I think it has a lot to do with this recall, especially with the windows always open. People drive by and they do, you know, they don’t necessarily want to come visit us right away. And I think it’s going to take time, you know people are going to get more comfortable over time, ”Stevens said.

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