It has been just over a year since retired Hollister Police Sgt. Ray Celano’s son and nephew were shot to death in Colorado Springs, and authorities have yet to arrest or publicly identify a suspect or suspects.
Celano’s middle son, Dylan, survived the Nov. 20, 2021 shooting with five gunshot wounds, but he remains paralyzed in his left arm due to those injuries, Celano recently told this publication. Dylan continues to visit with doctors up to four times a week for physical and occupational therapy, and other treatment.
Celano’s oldest son, Dominic, 14, and nephew Gage, 23, died at the scene of the shooting, which occurred at Memorial Skate Park in Colorado Springs, according to authorities. Colorado Springs Police have not publicly identified a suspect or suspects in the incident, and Celano said the local authorities have told him they are still actively investigating the shooting.
Dylan and Dominic were skateboarding at the park with Gage, who was their cousin, when they were confronted by two people they did not know, said Celano, who was not present at the November 2021 crime scene. The two suspects brandished firearms and began shooting.
“Dominic stepped forward to protect his little brother and was killed instantly,” Celano said. Gage attempted to clear the skatepark of other bystanders and was shot nine times. The suspects even “came back and shot them on the ground,” Celano added.
Dylan, who was age 12 at the time, suffered major injuries and required emergency surgery at a nearby hospital, according to authorities.
Colorado Springs Police Public Information Officer Robert Tornabene said the department’s Homicide Unit is still conducting an open investigation into the shooting, and is not releasing any new details.
Celano said the suspects were heard shouting street gang slogans during the crime, suggesting a potential motive.
The two suspects were wearing hoodies with the hoods pulled tight over their heads, covering the majority of their faces, Celano said. Both were young males who appeared to be in their teens.
Dylan continues to recover more than a year later. Formerly an outgoing, active child, since the shooting Dylan rarely wants to leave home, Celano said. He wears a medical mask to school to cover the scars on his face that remain from the gunshot wounds.
Celano’s wife, Sunny, has been going to counseling since the shooting, Ray Celano said.
On a more encouraging note, Dylan has recently made some new friends at school, his father added. His neurosurgeon remains optimistic that the teen will be able to use his left arm with more therapy and treatment.
Celano was in law enforcement for 30 years before he retired from the Hollister Police Department in October 2021. He and his family moved to Colorado Springs just a couple weeks before the November 2021 shooting occurred, he said.
He spent the last 15 years of his career with the Hollister police force, and during that time the Celano family became well known and respected by Ray’s colleagues and the surrounding community. That respect continues. About half of Hollister PD’s current officers traveled to Colorado to attend Dominic’s funeral, which the local Police Officers Association paid for. Some of Dominic’s friends from Hollister High School also traveled for the funeral.
Even some Hollister residents who Celano had arrested in the past attended the funeral services. His wife continues to receive supportive texts from people they know here.
“If I knew how much my family was loved in Hollister, I probably would have never left,” Celano said.
Hollister Police Chief Carlos Reynoso, who worked directly with Celano at the local department, said it is important to keep the Colorado Springs shooting in the public eye in an effort to encourage someone to come forward with some knowledge of the crime.
“Someone out there knows exactly who did this or has a piece of evidence or information that the police need in order to solve this crime,” Reynoso said. “The murderer and his associates are out there free to commit more crimes. We need to do what we can to keep this investigation from going cold. If anyone has any information about this, they should call the Colorado Springs Police Department.”
Anyone with information about the Nov. 20, 2021 shooting can call Pikes Peak Crime Stoppers at 1.800.222.8477.