— The Denver Post (@denverpost) May 24, 2017
Chris Gulzow rode through downtown Denver on his scooter Tuesday as he often did, wearing gloves fitted out with knifelike-blades, spiked leather wristbands and makeup police said looked like that of a clown, but which his friends described as “demonic.”
The 36-year-old, police say, began arguing with a homeless man near a restaurant called “Torchy’s Tacos.” Gulzow told police that the homeless man threatened him, tried to take his scooter and yelled at him to “get out of my alley.”
Gulzow began pummeling the man, who punched him back, according to a police report cited by the Denver Post.
Then, Gulzow allegedly stabbed and slashed the 29-year-old man with the glove, with 2-3 inch blades attached to the end of each finger. Gulzow fled on his scooter, and the homeless man, identified as Brian Lucero, died of the stab wound, according to the Denver coroner’s office.
Police arrested Gulzow, who is being held without bond at Denver’s downtown jail pending formal charges.
When Billy Puryear heard the news, even before he heard the name, he immediately thought of his childhood friend, Gulzow, known for wearing heavy, satanic costume makeup and that lethal pair of gloves, like something out of a horror movie.
The man accused of the crime was indeed Puryear’s former friend, whom he grew up with “like brothers.”
Gulzow has always been a quiet, lonely person, and “real strange,” Puryear, a 34-year-old singer and tattoo artist who goes by “Boo The Ghost,” told The Washington Post. Something about him was always “real creepy.”
Gulzow’s jail nickname is Diablo, the Denver Post reported. He has an extensive criminal history with multiple domestic violence, assault and weapons convictions. In 2012, he was convicted of menacing with a deadly weapon, according to Colorado Bureau of Investigation records.
According to the Denver Post, Gulzow told police it may have all been an accident. The victim may have fallen on one of Gulzow’s spiked wrist bracelets, he reportedly said. On the other hand, he also reportedly acknowledged that he may have cut the victim while he jabbed him with his “clawed glove.” Gulzow’s account was different from those offered by witnesses, the police report says.
Gulzow works at a pizza restaurant, has a son and lives with his mother. According to his father, he was taking anger-management classes and may have been off his medications the morning of the alleged attack.
His 65-year-old father, Jack Gulzow, told the Denver Post he believes his son’s mental health issues may have been rooted in the 2009 death of his brother, Jack Gulzow Jr, in a kayaking accident.
“Maybe he went in that direction because of his brother,” Jack Gulzow told the Denver Post of his son. “He is a very troubled young man. A dark side of him was coming out. He liked the attention he got. But I didn’t think he had that in him. He’s not a person to go out and attack people.”
The father disputed police accounts, saying his son never dressed as a clown, but instead wore demonic costumes, body piercings and spiked boots and bracelets.
The man’s identity was ever changing. When he was younger, Gulzow said he was of Mexican heritage, claiming his name was “Chris Hernandez,” Puryear said. He recently started telling people he was from Germany, calling himself “Christöf Gülzowprüzenstein.”
Gulzow was always role playing, emulating various goth musicians, and dressing up as a demon, a vampire or a ghoul. Puryear said he often saw him wearing “weapons” as clothing or jewelry pieces — such as a knife hanging on a necklace. He said he has previously seen Gulzow donning the bladed gloves he was reportedly wearing Wednesday.
Puryear and Gulzow formed a friendship over their shared interest in goth, rap and heavy metal music. After losing touch with Gulzow for several years, Puryear ran into his old friend at a pizza restaurant and invited him to one of his band’s shows. Gulzow soon became “like a prop for our stage,” dressing up as a devil and dancing along to the band’s music, Puryear said.
Gulzow hardly had any friends, Puryear said, and spent most of his time at home, putting on makeup and posting photos of himself on Facebook.
“He’s lonely, he’s bored,” Puryear said. “I’m not talking bad about him because I don’t like him, it’s just the truth.”
Puryear often “felt sorry for him,” and would take his friend out to eat or would let him spend a night at his house. He even made Gulzow an administrator for his band’s page. But after a while, Gulzow took advantage of his role with the band, posting only pictures of himself on the page, Puryear said.
Gulzow always had a tendency to make people feel uncomfortable, Puryear said. Sometimes, when Puryear was hanging out with a previous girlfriend and Gulzow, the friend would “hit on her” whenever Puryear would leave the room, he said.
“You get a weird vibe when you’re around him,” Puryear said.
When Puryear decided to strip Gulzow of his access to the Facebook page, Gulzow began threatening the band members. He threatened to slit one member’s throat, and “to follow us to our house, come after us.”
Once shunned by the band, Gulzow became increasingly angry, Puryear said. He often posted messages on social media saying he was “evil” and “satanic.” His Facebook page displays Nazi propaganda posters and dark statements such as “I like sudden death moments when you almost just died and made it out alive.” In another, as the Denver Post noted, Gulzow wrote “Behold I am The True Saten …”
Writing about a time he shocked himself with a Taser he wrote: “If I had one I might kill myself with it cause it’s a rush.”
Most of the time, Puryear presumed that Gulzow was just posing, that “it was all a show.”
But when Gulzow was accused of fatally stabbing a man this week, the “show” became all too real. But he was not entirely shocked when he heard the news.
“I believed he would if he was pushed to that point,” Puryear said of the allegations that Gulzow killed a man. “Which he obviously was.”
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