Police officerCelena Hollis

A police officer, Hollis got into the profession after working as a loss prevention officer at a department store, and after a few years on the street in Detroit, Mich., she came to Denver, Colorado, to pursue a career. “No butterflies,” she said in January 2006, after graduating from Denver’s police academy. “Just ready to go.” She was a patrol officer, and chosen for the Street Crime Attack Team, which aggressively works to keep crime down to keep the quality of life up in neighborhoods. She specialized in calming down tense or violent incidents, and rose to be the president of the Denver Black Police Officers Organization. This weekend she worked in uniform at the open-air City Park Jazz concert. As the concert ended, a fight broke out, and Hollis jumped in to break it up. Early indications are that it was a “gang skirmish” — and at least one of the participants had a gun. Witnesses say 3–5 shots rang out, and Hollis was hit in the head, killing her. “She was easy to get along with and always had a smile on her face and happy to approach each day,” said Lt. Ron Thomas. A 21-year-old man is in custody, charged with murder. Hollis, a single mother of a 12-year-old daughter, died June 24, at 32. She was the 47th American police officer killed in the line of duty in 2012 — and the sixth this month.

Hollis’s department portrait.

Update: On April 12, 2013, Rollin Oliver pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in a plea bargain in exchange for prosecutors dropping a charge of “first-degree murder with extreme indifference for human life.” He claims he was being chased by gang members and shot into the crowd indiscriminately, and did not intentionally kill Hollis. As part of the deal, Oliver agreed to serve a minimum sentence of 16 years in prison, and was sentenced to the maximum, 26 years. He was 21 at the time of the shooting, and 22 at the time of his plea.

From This is True for 24 June 2012