Three of the five people who were shot and killed in the Denver and Lakewood shootings were associated with tattoo parlors, and two – Alicia Cardenas and Daniel Schofield – were highly regarded tattoo artists.
Cardenas and Jimmy Maldonado, a body piercer, were affiliated with Sol Tribe Custom Tattoo and Body Piercing of Denver, which is located near the scene of the first shooting. Maldonado was wounded but survived, according to family reports on social media, but his wife, Alyssa, was killed. Sol Tribe was the first business targeted by the gunman, authorities said in a December 28, 2021, news conference. The gunman next shot an unidentified man to death in a house after opening fire and invading a second home, but causing no injuries there.
Cardenas was a beloved artist at the Sol Tribe business, which she also owned. Authorities said in the news conference that the shooter moved on to Lakewood, where he murdered a Hyatt House hotel clerk, Sarah Steck, a tattoo artist named Danny Schofield at Lucky 13 Tattoo & Piercing, and wounded a Lakewood police officer, who was shot in the abdomen but is expected to survive.
The suspect was named by police as Lyndon McLeod, who also published books under the name of Roman McClay. Police said his motive is unclear. However, they said he knew all of the victims, and had contact with the hotel that employed Steck. They didn’t detail those relationships, however.
Authorities have not released all of the victims’ names but tributes flooded social media.
Tributes flowed on social media for Cardenas. “Rest in power Alicia Cardenas. You were a force of nature, a strong voice for your communities, a mentor and friend to so many. I mourn you and I mourn all the art you still had left to create, all the energy you still had to share with the world. You made an impact and your loss cuts deep,” wrote Michelle Baldwin.
According to Sol Tribe Tattoo and Piercing, “Alicia Cardenas is a true Denver Native—a proud Indigenous artist born and raised in the city who’s been working in the Denver body modification industry for nearly her entire life. She began working and apprenticing at Bound By Design in 1994 at the age of 16 and began piercing there professionally a year later. In 1997, she opened her first shop, Twisted Sol—Denver’s first custom tattoo and professional body piercing studio. She began her journey as a tattooer—in addition to her already extensive knowledge of body modification—in 2008, and in 2009, after twelve glorious years at Twisted Sol’s Cap Hill location, she and longtime shop manager Kevin Strawbridge moved down to Broadway to open Sol Tribe.”
Jesse Villemaire wrote on Facebook, “The world just lost an strong and incredible woman due to a senseless, deadly shooting spree in Denver Colorado that took the lives of four people and injured many others. One of the victims is someone that has been a powerful voice in the body art/piercing community for so many years. I’m so grateful to have known Alicia and how our deep conversations we’ve had together will never be forgotten. R.I.P. Alicia, you were truly one of a kind. ❤️”
On Facebook, Cardenas described herself as “Boss Lady at Sol Tribe Custom Tattoo and Body Piercing,” and a tattoo artist affiliated with the Association of Professional Piercers. According to that organization, she was a “past APP board member, president, educator and incredibly resilient human.”
“This industry would not be the same without your influence,” they wrote.
Jennifer Foreman wrote on Facebook, “My heart is completely ripped out of my chest! I met Alicia Cardenas the first month I moved here 22 years ago. She immediately welcomed me with open arms and without judgement! Friends for all these years! RIP 💔💔💔💔💔💔💔💔💔💔💔💔💔💔💔 My heart goes out to Sol Tribe & our entire tattoo community!”
John Joyce wrote, “This morning a lot of people are waking up to find a beautiful soul, a friend, a peer, an artist, a mother, a teacher, a leader, and so much more has been taken from them. There is a hole in the piercing industry today, a hole in the Denver community, and a hole in the world, where Alicia Cardenas filled and touched so many.Im just waking up and haven’t even begun processing this. You were a powerful person Alicia, who touched so many in and out of this industry, and in your community. I’ll never forget speaking with you after one of the classes I taught. Shocked that you were asking me questions, while I sat there in awe wondering what I could possibly teach you. Thank you ❤”
Daniel Schofield (Dano Blair)
Amanda Weber wrote on Facebook, “Our hearts are broken, we lost a very dear friend, The kindest soul to senseless violence. Dano Blair you will forever be loved by all of us. I miss you so much already.. we all will celebrate your bright light every day moving on. From here on out, everything we do is for Dano 🧡🖤🧡🖤 — feeling heartbroken.”
“Last night we lost a light. It was taken from the world. But we will never forget it’s radiance. We will never forget you Dano Blair,” wrote Derek Conrad.
Juliet Hershberger wrote on Facebook: “This isn’t what I thought i’d wake up to. Dano Blair. words can’t even fathom how shocking and harmful receiving this news was. we were literally just talking about me coming down and getting a touch up from you. From the tattoos, to Kava, to concerts, drag queens, etc. you were an amazing person and an artist. i’ll have a piece of you with me for the rest of my life. I hope you’re at peace now 🕊😔”
Jeannette Wills wrote, “This was hard news to wake up to this morning. My heart goes out to everyone in Colorado right now, especially to the family of Dano Blair ❤️ he was such a gentle soul and I have so many fond memories of him! The hardest part of life is not knowing how much time we have left with the ones we love, so hold each other tight and don’t take time for granted.”
Jessica Hamilton wrote, “Dano Blair I can’t believe this. Hearing the news last night I’m just now being able to process it all. You will be so missed. So glad I got to see you yesterday and give you a big hug as always. You were the kindest man and always supported everyone and would do anything for anyone. Love you so much and will miss you forever. It’s not fair.”
On Facebook, Blair indicated that he was a tattoo artist. His top post reads, “It’s that time of year again! October is right around the corner. I will be doing my annual October promotion! Half off horror portraits all October! This is a appointment only promotion, all appointments require a minimum of $50 deposit. Spots will fill up quick! Let’s have some fun guys!! (Please share and spread the love) love y’all!!” He showcased his artwork on his Facebook page.
Alyssa & Jimmy Maldonado
Loved ones wrote on Facebook that the husband and wife were among the victims – she died and he survived.
Alyssa Maldonado wrote on her Facebook page in May 2021, “Collecting backpacks at Sol Tribe Custom Tattoo and Body Piercing for tenoch’s last big project for school. You can DM me if you’d like to meet elsewhere to drop off. Tlazocamati!”
On its website, Sol Tribe describes itself as “a body art studio committed to offering the safest and cleanest body art available. A modern studio with an ancient feel.”
Kimberley Montoya wrote on Facebook, “I am soooooo Broken hearted for my Grandson Tenoch 💔💔💔💔💔😥😥😥😥😥His father Jimmy Maldonado was shot in this random tattoo shooting s yesterday in Denver metro area! He is alive thank you God and in ICU!!!! Unfortunately his wife Allisa and owner Alicia did not survive the shooting s💔💔💔💔🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏I asked for prayers for my grandson his father Jimmie that we all love and for all the family members that lost a love one yesterday.”
“Waking up to a message from my brother/friend Jimmy Maldonado family I knew it wasn’t good,” wrote Ernest Burbank on Facebook. “It’s hard to even believe it’s real, I reread the message hoping it was a mistake or the wrong number but it’s all real and so painful to accept. A shooter came to Sol Tribe Custom Tattoo and Body Piercing and began his shooting spree, my beautiful and ceremonial sister Alyssa Gunn Maldonado was shot and murdered along with my friend/tattooing sister Alicia Cardenas owner of sol tribe. Jimmy is currently in the hospital so please keep him in recovery prayers and please give your prayers of comfort for our sisters and their families. I just don’t understand how so much hate can live in people and how the innocent always pay the price. Please tell your friends and family you love them……”
James Maldonado, called Jimmy Maldonado, is featured in an artist bio on the Sol Tribe website: “James ‘El Bato Loco’ Maldonado has been piercing and spreading good vibes in Denver since 1996. He was first apprenticed at Denver’s oldest tattoo shop, Bound By Design, but found his home at Alicia Cardenas’ first shop, Twisted Sol, for many years,” it reads.
“James also did a stint in the world famous and first ever body piercing studio in the United States, Gauntlet, in San Francisco. James is a fully trained and well rounded piercer who can help you with all of your piercing needs including child lobe piercing and specialty genital piercing. In addition to piercing, James is a longtime Denver activist and Aztec Dancer. James has begun offering ritual piercing and cleansings for his clients; please inquire with him about a consultation. James is fluent in Spanish and is passionate about keeping his piercings attainable by all people of all walks of life. Because of the years James has been piercing, he is an excellent resource for problematic piercings and anything piercing-related you could ever need!”
In November, Jimmy wrote on Facebook, “So, I’m officially in my own space. I’m mean I’m still at sol tribe for now, but I have my little spot in the back that’s kinda my space and I’m f***in lovin it! It still needs a little bit more work but once I have it to my liking (which will be never😂) it’s gonna be more dope. Many years ago I worked at a shop here in Denver called Twisted Sol.”