Damian and Dillon Wikoff were the kind of brothers who stuck together.
A year apart in age, they pushed each other to do better, to try harder in school and to move toward a successful future. Damian, 18, mentored Dillon, 17. Two of seven siblings, together they were the protectors of the family, even when times were tough, even after their dad died and they spent a couple years in foster homes.
“If we were hungry, they were the first to feed us before they ate,” their sister Antonia Wikoff said Tuesday. “If we needed anything, they’d be the first to come help us.”
Damian was supposed to start classes at Emily Griffith High School on Monday. Dillon was on track to graduate from Lakewood High School this year too, she said.
But on Sunday night, Damian took a break from his shift at a Qdoba on West Colfax Avenue and met his brother, who worked at King Soopers, in the nearby Walmart parking lot.
A car pulled up, someone fired shots, and both brothers fell, mortally wounded.
“They took both of them,” Wikoff said. “I just, I don’t know how our family is going to get through this.”
The brothers’ killings comes as the Denver metro area experiences an uptick in youth violence this year, made worse, advocates say, as young people are isolated by the novel coronavirus pandemic and disconnected from traditional summer programs and supports at school. Denver’s homicides hit a three-year high this month, and the city is on track to see its deadliest year in a decade.
Lakewood Police haven’t identified a motive for the attack on the brothers, but public information officer John Romero said Tuesday that investigators believe the shooting was not random. They believe there was one shooter who fired multiple shots, and investigators do not think the teenagers fired back.
Police haven’t released suspect information or a description of the car that witnesses saw leaving the shooting. Romero said it is too early in the investigation to know if the shooting is gang-related but said there is no ongoing danger to the general public.
Wikoff said her brothers weren’t involved with gangs and she’s frustrated by speculation she’s seen about gang connections.
“Colorado is hard because there’s been a lot of gang violence lately,” she said. “And it’s just hard, because I’m like, my brothers are the sweetest souls. They don’t even fight. They are not involved in anything like that.”
Damian and Dillon were wearing their work uniforms when they were shot, she said.
Romero said it appeared Damian was on a break from work, but said he did not think Dillon was working at the time. A spokeswoman for Qdoba confirmed Damian’s employment and offered condolences to the family. A spokeswoman for King Soopers declined comment.
The teenagers’ family is now raising money for two funerals, to bury two sons who did everything together. Wikoff hopes police arrest the killer, if only to stop other families from suffering the way hers now does.
“They were two peas in a pod,” Wikoff said. “They were destined for greatness, and someone robbed them of that.”
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