DENVER – Denver police announced the arrests of three suspects Thursday in the homicide investigation into an early-morning bar fire where five bodies were found.
The suspects were identified as 27-year-old Joseph Hill and 24-year-old Lynell Hill, who are brothers, and 22-year-old Dexter Lewis.
The three were arrested shortly after 11 p.m. Wednesday, police said. Those arrests came less than 24 hours after police recovered five bodies from Fero’s Bar & Grill on 351 Colorado Boulevard shortly after 2 a.m., after discovering the structure was on fire.
"It appears that the motive of this crime was robbery," Ron Saunier, a Denver police commander, said. "We don’t want to say it was a robbery gone bad at this point. We're still at the beginning of our investigation, but we do believe the arson was set in an effort to cover up the crime."
The Denver medical examiner identified the other victims as Daria M. Pohl, 22; Kellene Fallon, 45; Ross Richter, 29; and Tereasa Beesley, 45. Pohl, Fallon and Beesley were from Denver. Richter's hometown wasn't released. The medical examiner didn't release the cause of death.
The bar is in a strip mall about five miles south of downtown Denver. It is wedged among a check-cashing store, a tennis shop, a nail salon and a car repair business on busy Colorado Boulevard.
Frequent patron Chris Brady said the bar's customers ranged from "semi-homeless-looking people" to patrons in suits and ties. He was at the bar for a regular poker game held Tuesdays and left at about 11 p.m.
"There was nobody random or crazy in there," Brady said.
Few details were immediately known about the other victims.
Frank Peluso, who works in an office building half a block from Fero's Bar & Grill, said he used to eat lunch at the establishment but hasn't been there in three years. It seemed to be declining and the owners have tried various things to attract more business, including offering karaoke, he said.
"It's one of those places that you wonder how it stays in business," Peluso said.
Resident Matthew Neam said you can't see into the bar because the front windows are frosted. He said he and his friend used to joke about what might be inside.
"I've never gone in there," Neam said. "It always looked kind of sketchy to me."
The Associated Press contributed to this report