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A memorial garden for violent crime victims next to the Jefferson County courthouse has been destroyed by a fire that is being investigated as arson, according to Golden Public Information Officer Karlyn Tilley.

At just after 7 p.m. on Oct. 8, people called 911 to report a large fire in bushes located behind the Jeffco courthouse.

According to Tilley, Golden firefighters arrived to find multiple trees and bushes on fire, along with a gazebo in the garden, which is known as the Courage Garden and located between the Sixth Avenue footbridge and the light rail station. It took 20 minutes to knock down the fire and another 20 minutes to put out the hotspots, Tilley said.

The fire completely destroyed the gazebo and several memorial markers in the garden, which is a place of remembrance and healing for those who have lost loved ones to violent crimes in Jeffco. The garden was the destination site of the annual Courage Walk that is held annually to remember the victims of violent crimes in Jeffco.

The gazebo was built in honor of Sgt. Tim Mossbrucker, a Jeffco sheriff’s deputy who was murdered in the line of duty in 1995. The funds to build it were donated by law enforcement agencies across the county.

Pam Russell, the spokeswoman for the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office that serves Jeffco and Gilpin counties and helps to organize the walk, said the fire was “terrible news for us and everyone that enjoys this garden.”

“We are just heartsick over this,” said Russell. “The Courage Garden has been a place of healing and hope for so many.”