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Suspected spree killer gunned down

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Victim’s name: Michael Martinez, 18
Where body found: Near
Investigative agency: Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office
Date killed: Sept. 7, 1998
Cause of Death:
Suspect: None identified

Michael Martinez wasn’t a sympathetic murder victim. Investigators believe he was a cold-blooded killer who slaughtered friends who snitched on him in a whirlwind Labor-day shooting spree in 1998.

Michael Martinez, 18courtesy of Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office

Michael Martinez, 18

But investigators believe that whoever shot him hasn’t been brought to justice and could still pose a threat to other people.

Michael was extremely troubled. and Cherry Creek Prep expelled him. His rap sheet was growing while he was a child.

In 1998, a younger brother him and seriously injured him.

By , he and 17-year-old were on a tear and their targets were their own friends in an neighborhood.


Before the day was over, Martinez turned from being the hunter to the hunted. His body was found in a field northeast of the Park Meadows Mall. He had been shot 13 times.

It was “an abrupt, strange ending to a horror-filled and tragic weekend,” according to the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s office website.

At first, Arapahoe County investigators believed his accomplice in the crime spree, Pogosyan, killed him to silence him.

But he hadn’t been shot with the same kind of weapon as those used in the killing .

According to an online description of the cold case on the sheriff’s office website, the investigation steered toward others close to the violent pair.

Arapahoe County prosecutors charged Pogosyan with five murder counts. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Arapahoe Co. Courthouse: Families of victims of Labor Day mass shooting attend sentencing of Alex Pogosyan, 17 years old,convicted of taking part in slaying. Photo of Alex & his attorneys, Alex's looking towards the back of courtroom.John Prieto, Denver Post staff photographer

Arapahoe Co. Courthouse: Families of victims of Labor Day mass shooting attend sentencing of Alex Pogosyan, 17 years old,convicted of taking part in slaying. Photo of Alex & his attorneys, Alex's looking towards the back of courtroom.

Though he fled and never testified in person at Pogosyan’s trial, offered a glimpse of what happened that violent Labor Day in an interview with police.

Martirosyan said he drove Pogosyan and Martinez to an Aurora townhome that afternoon, thinking they just wanted to store two guns with their friends who lived there, according to a Denver Post article. They carried shotguns into the home at about 1 p.m.

Within moments, gunfire erupted from the home at 2004 S. Paris Way. He heard about four or five shots.

“Two seconds later, they walked out and got into the back seat,” Martirosyan told police. “Mike was excited. He said, ‘I blew his brains out.”’

Martirosyan told police Pogosyan was carrying a shotgun but said nothing. Martinez then announced he wanted to find his girlfriend and kill her. Alexander Pogosyan’s brother, Roman, also was in the car, he said.

“‘They all snitched on me, and I’m going to get them,”’ Martinez said, Martirosyan told police.

Police found the bodies of and Zack Obert, both 18, at the Morales home at 2004 S. Paris Way.

Martinez persuaded Pogosyan to accompany him on the trip to the home of his girlfriend, Martirosyan said, but he told police that he refused to drive them any further. He said he dropped the pair off at the Martinez house.

“‘We were real mad at them for what they were doing,”’ Martirosyan said of Martinez and Pogosyan.

Morales’ girlfriend, Anuschka Ganji, 18, testified at Pogosyan’s trial that he brought two shotguns to a party at Morales’ home a week before the killings. Martinez said he and Pogosyan thought had
snitched on them and they were going to kill her.

Police alleged that Pogosyan and Martinez then went to 11898 E. Harvard Avenue and killed Greg Medla,
18, Penny Bowman Medla, 37, and Marissa Avalos, 16.

About 9:30 p.m. that night, Martirosyan said Alex Pogosyan called him, sounding dejected.

“‘They got Mike. I’m just sitting here at home waiting for Mike,”’ Martirosyan said Pogosyan told him.

Martirosyan was released after the interview and disappeared. A warrant has been issued for his arrest on first-degree murder charges. Martirosyan may have fled the country.

No one has ever been caught in the Martinez shooting.

Contact information: The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office can be reached at 303-795-4711. Denver Post reporter Kirk Mitchell at 303-954-1206 or kmitchell@denverpost.com

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