On July 4, 2000, a 69-year-old man was working as a street vendor in Denver. Benjamin Avila loved selling food products from his vehicle.
But he got in an argument and shots were fired.
Avila died as a result of his injuries. Now, more than two decades later, police have yet to find his killer.
The shooting happened around 3 p.m. in the parking lot of “PJs” Lounge, according to Metro Denver Crime Stoppers and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. An unknown man got into an argument with Avila and then shot the street vendor.
Avila was taken to the hospital, where he later died.
Police told the Denver ABC7 in 2020 that they aren’t sure if robbery was the motive in the killing. Authorities are still asking for help solving the cold case. Anyone with information is asked to contact (720) 913-7867.
Avila’s grandson, Shawn Roybal, spoke to Denver ABC7 in 2020 and said his grandfather loved his job.
"My grandfather would get up at 3 in the morning, have tea and go take produce out to where he sold it," Roybal told the TV station. "We had a family barbecue (on July 4) and around 1:30 or 2:00 he was ready to leave, because he wanted to go back to where he sold produce."
The Independence Days in the years following the killing were difficult for the family, though they said they have gotten easier as more time has passed.
"That was my Dad's favorite holiday. It was my Mom and Dad's anniversary, wedding anniversary," Avila’s daughter, Diana Lopez, told Denver ABC7.
The family hopes that one day they can get answers on who killed Avila, the beloved street vendor.
"I think the big question is, why?” Avila’s granddaughter Shantelle Lopez told the station. “Because he was such a good person."