Damian Wikoff was only 18 and his brother Dillon Wikoff was only 17, but the two brothers still strived to provide for their family.
Damian worked at a Qdoba on West Colfax in Lakewood while Dillon worked at a King Soopers all while preparing for the upcoming school year. The older Wikoff brother was preparing to start classes at Emily Griffith High School while Dillon was gearing up for his senior year at McLain Community High School.
“They took over the cable, the electricity and the phone bill. They were very hard workers,” their mother Frankie Wikoff said in tears.
The Wikoff brothers were shot and killed on Aug. 23 at the area of 7455 W. Colfax Ave. Lakewood Police arrested Michael Anthony Mendoza, 17, from Denver on Aug. 25 and Marqueil Deandre Banks, 16, from Commerce City on Aug. 31 in connection to the shooting — both are accused of first-degree murder.
The “petition alleging delinquency” initially filed by the District Attorney’s office against the suspects indicates they intended to rob the brothers of a handgun, before things turned deadly.
A mother’s memories
Wikoff holds onto precious memories of her sons like how the boys would always surprise her and their 20-year-old sister with gifts like flowers and lotions from Bed Bath and Beyond. When someone was having a bad day, the brothers would say random things to make others laugh, Wikoff said. And up until they started driving recently, Damian and Dillon excelled at skateboarding.
“They were perfect to me, and they were perfect for this world,” said Wikoff.
Damian and Dillon grew up in Arvada for most of their lives up until they moved to Lakewood around four years ago. The week before his death, Wikoff recalls Damian talking to her about possibly pursuing a career in welding or as an electrician. Both of the brothers were passionate about cars and had smiles that lit up a room, Wikoff said.
Since their deaths, the brothers have been honored through a vigil where they were killed at on Aug. 28 and a funeral that took place in Thornton on Sept. 11. Wikoff said that the vigil showed her that humanity in the world still exists, and the support she has received from the community has been comforting.
“Anybody who has met my children, they made a very positive impact on them,” said Wikoff.
According to statistics from the state, there were 443 violent crime cases in Lakewood last year. Violent crimes involve murders, sex offenses and aggravated assaults. Murders however, were not common, only 5 for all of 2019.
“I don’t want any other parent to experience what I’ve experienced. Nobody should have to bury their kids, let alone two of them,” said Wikoff. “I needed them more than they needed me.”