DENVER - The brother of Fero's Bar and Grill owner said police told him she is among five people found killed in the torched bar early Wednesday morning.
Tae Moon Park said police told him his 63-year-old sister, Young Suk Fero, had been shot and burned by the fire.
Denver police say they still have no motive and no suspect in a mass killing that left five people dead in a Denver bar and grill early Wednesday.
The bodies of four women and one man were found inside Fero's Bar and Grill when firefighters were called to put out a fire.
A Glendale police officer who first reported the fire said he heard screams. However, Denver Fire Lt. Phil Champagne said the officer didn't know if the screams came from someone inside the bar or a witness.
The Glendale police officer was on routine patrol when he spotted smoke and flames at 1:48 a.m. and called Denver Fire.
When firefighters arrived, they found smoke coming from the back of the restaurant on Colorado Boulevard near Alameda Avenue. As firefighters were fighting the fire, they pulled five people from the fire, Champagne said.
All five were dead. All had some kind of trauma, Champagne said.
"Not sure the exact nature of the trauma," said Denver police Chief Robert White.
The Denver Medical Examiner's Office identified the victims Wednesday afternoon as bar owner Young Fero, 63; Daria M. Phol, 21; Kellene Fallon, 44; Ross Richter, 29; and Tereasa Beesley, 45. Their manner of death was listed as homicide.
"They [the victims] did not perish in the fire," said police Commander Ronald Saunier.
Saunier said investigators are guessing that the fire was set to mask the homicides inside.
Champagne said there is extensive damage inside the bar, even though on the outside all you could see were charred windows. Champagne said the fire would have been difficult to survive even if the victims had suffered no trauma.
Slayings Drug Motivated?
Law enforcement sources say police are looking at a drug connection, and that makes sense with the information CALL7 Investigators have uncovered about one of the victims, Kellene Fallon.
One of those friends was contacted by Denver police after they apparently recovered Fallon's cell phone and found she had contacted him last night before going to the bar.
A former roommate said a friend dropped Fallon off at Fero's at midnight.
Both the sources told CALL7 investigator John Ferrugia the bar is a place where patrons connect with drug dealers to obtain cocaine. Both sources said the owner was not involved in the alleged transactions, but that patrons often used the bar as a meeting place.
Fallon has a criminal record that includes cocaine charges but so far police do not know the motive for the killing, CALL7 Investigators found.
During an afternoon news conference, White said officers are canvassing the neighborhood, looking for any surveillance videos that could help investigators.
The bar typically closes at 2 a.m., according to White. Investigators are trying to determine if the bar was open when the fire started or if it was in the process of closing.
Commanders told 7NEWS they would like to talk to anyone who was in the bar on Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.
"We could use the eyes and ears of anyone who might have seen or heard anything. If anyone has any information, no matter how trivial they may think it is, please contact us," White said.
White confirmed that investigators do not yet have a motive or any suspects, but they are following up on several tips.
"It is hopeful that this is an isolated incident. But, again, I can't say that with any definitiveness, because we really haven't gotten that far with the investigation," White said. "It's very alarming -- that 's why it's important we investigate it to the fullest."
Tuesday Night Was Quiet, Bar Patron Says
7NEWS has confirmed there were several poker games being played at the bar on Tuesday night.
Tim Johnson, who runs the poker games, told 7NEWS it was a quiet night. He said there didn't seem to be anyone upset and the night was so uneventful, he left at 10:45 p.m., when he usually stays until 2 a.m.
Johnson said other players were still there when he left.
"My phone blew up this morning with phone calls, texts messages, making sure I was alright. My roommate was alright, other poker players," Johnson said.
"We were just playing poker, playing Texas Hold Em, having a good time and then who would've known three hours later, something like this happens," Johnson said.
He said the bar and grill has a quiet, relaxed atmosphere.
"The place is usually calm. It gets night business from Applebee's and Shotgun Willie's because their kitchen stays open until 2 a.m. Usually nothing escalates there. No fights, nothing ... It's a tragedy."
Police said there were no calls about any disturbances at the restaurant on Tuesday night.
Friends, Family Thought Bar Owner, Young Fero, Had Been Killed
Matt Dunafon, who is the general manager at Shotgun Willie's, a strip club about a block away, said the bar was not a place known for fights or commotion.
"There's never ... I've never heard of any gun situation or fights, I mean, it's a small place," he said.
Dunafon was close with the bar's owner, whom he described as a "house mother" for people who worked late because she would stay open until 2 a.m. making food and serving drinks.
Dunafon described Young Fero as a tiny Korean-American woman who worked hard.
"I can't see anyone being very mad at her and her not being able to handle things because she did everything. She cooked, bussed, bartended, waitressed, everything," Dunafon said.
"Whenever I think of Fero's, you know, it's not even Fero's. It's Young. 'Let's go see Young.' I don't think anyone even says Fero's, we just think of Young," Dunafon said. "That's our place to go, or it was anyway."
Young Fero's estranged husband, Danny Fero, said he bought the bar years ago but now she owned the bar and her gray Volvo was still parked in front of the restaurant Wednesday morning.
Danny Fero said he found out about the fire when he "woke up and saw it on the news first thing.”
He said he and his wife have not been together since 1998 and they do not live together, although they never divorced.
Dunafon said news of the killings "scares the hell out of me." He said that kind of killing could happen at any bar open late and is rethinking security at Shotgun Willie's. He doesn't believe the incident is a result of a robbery or a fight gone badly.
"That doesn't seem like a random act of violence or a robbery. It seems like, 'I'm going to get you!' and I just don't know ... I sure as hell hope they catch the people that did it though," Dunafon said. "I'm really, really missing her already. Young had such a way about her."
Chris Brady, a regular poker player at Fero's, told 7NEWS he was playing until 11 p.m. Tuesday night and everybody was having a great time and there were no problems.
Brady said he's very fond of Young Fero, who always had his pre-ordered meal ready when he arrived.
"She never took guff from anyone, but she was the sweetest woman," Brady said.
Thousands of people drive by Fero's Bar and Grill every day. It is on Colorado Boulevard, near Alameda, across from Target and Wells Fargo.
Colorado Boulevard was closed between Alameda and Virginia Avenues for several hours as part of the investigation, but it reopened at 6:30 a.m.
Police asked anyone with information to call the Denver Police Department at 720-913-2000. Those who wish to remain anonymous call Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867; or they can text CRIMES (274637) with the subject title DMCS and enter the message; or email metro-denvercrimestoppers.com.