UPDATE: Autozone Victim Condition Improves

Police are hot on the heels of the suspect in a deadly shooting that happened at an AutoZone at Palmer Park and Powers Blvd.   He has been identified as 60-year-old Ernest Schmidt, who also may be known as Edward Coffey.


Police are hot on the heels of the suspect in a deadly shooting that happened at an AutoZone at Palmer Park and Powers Blvd.

The shooting Wednesday night left one man dead, and another injured. 11 News spoke to a co-worker of the wounded man, Don LaRoe. The Berwick Electric employee is said to be in good spirits, recovering at a local hospital. Friday afternoon LaRoe was upgraded from "fair" to "good" condition. Police have not identified the man who was killed.

The suspect is 60-year-old Ernest Schmidt. He also uses the alias Edward Coffey, claiming to be 47. Police say he should be considered armed and dangerous. The suspect is wanted for first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, aggravated robbery and second-degree kidnapping.

According to state documents, the suspect has been in trouble with the law many times, having had numerous burglary and theft convictions across the country.

Witnesses in the area of Astrozon and Gina, the scene of a SWAT situation Thursday morning, tell 11 News they believe the SWAT team was searching for the suspect.

"He always kept to himself," said Aaron St. Germain, who lives across the street from the house where Schimdt used to live. He last saw Schmidt at the home a month ago. He wasn't there when officers swarmed the house Thursday.

"I'm definitely glad he doesn't live there anymore," St. Germain said. "It definitely makes me a little more nervous."

The man who used to live across the street is linked to a grisly scene discovered Wednesday night. Police arrived to the AutoZone on Palmer Park and Powers to find a man shot to death in the parking lot. Don LaRoe was shot inside the store, and was taken to Memorial Hospital for surgery.

Police say their suspect then carjacked a vehicle from the scene and took a hostage. That hostage wasn't hurt after being released near the Village Inn at Palmer Park and Academy.

CSPD is actively searching for Schmidt. Police say he was last seen wearing dark-colored shorts and shirt, and a black baseball cap.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact police; those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 634-STOP or text TIP411.

The El Paso County Coroner's Office have ruled the victim's death a homicide. This is the 14th homicide this year. At this time in 2010, there were 13 homicides.

AutoZone reopened for business Thursday afternoon.

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  • by Roger Location: CS on Jul 30, 2011 at 02:52 PM
    Joe is a cop on a power trip and thinks the crappy training he got at the crappy academy is the best in the world...you are so wrong. The only reason most cops survive their shift is because of all their cop friends out with them. Cops say their goal is to go home at night..should be to do their job. Man up dude.
  • by b Location: c/s on Jul 30, 2011 at 12:52 PM
    I'm not sure what "Hot on his heels" means, it's been a few days and no sign of him, soooooo......
  • by @ impressed on Jul 30, 2011 at 08:05 AM
    It might sound like it was heroic but really it wasn't that smart. she put herself on the line and she didn't realize she could have been shot. she went right after the shots were fired. not very smart in my book.
  • by kris on Jul 29, 2011 at 05:18 PM
    @Joe I am not saying an untrained citizen...It is the citizens responsibility to get them selves the proper training. If the citizen refuses to get training, then they are part of the problem. Again the citizens are the first defense against the criminals. I am trained and I practice shooting on a regular basis, because someday I may be forced to defend myself or my family. Seconds count ultimately in the end.
  • by Impressed Location: COS on Jul 29, 2011 at 04:36 PM
    I am impressed that a 16 year old GIRL who works at Gunther Toodys was there to be with the man who died. She stepped right up to see what she could do to help and held him as he passed away. She put HER life on the line. Her parents obviously taught her to be selfless and put others before herself. She had no gun, just selfleness. If there were more wonderful kids out there like her, this world would be a much better place. BTW...she had no weapon, but stepped up anyway!
  • by Sniper Location: Colorado Springs on Jul 29, 2011 at 03:23 PM
    @ Joe: "I doubt any armed citizen could have responded or stopped this." Oh I could for sure. I'd even pick up my own brass.
  • by ruth Location: COS on Jul 29, 2011 at 01:28 PM
    And how exactally is this "closing in on the shooting suspect"...This article tell me nothing more than I knew before.
  • by Joe on Jul 29, 2011 at 12:47 PM
    I find it amusing that people like Kris think that the average citizen with no tactical training or weapons training can respond to a threat within 5-15 seconds. Truth is, untrained firearms carriers pose more of a threat to the public and could just make a bad situation worse. What occurred at Autozone was a horrible tragedy. I doubt any armed citizen could have responded or stopped this.
  • by kris on Jul 29, 2011 at 12:21 PM
    TO ANDY: First off, I don't smoke a pipe...Second..If you chose to stay in your our little circle and not defend yourself that is your choice. But when you end up with a thug pointing a gun in your face, or injuring someone you love. I guarantee you you will wish you had a firearm to protect yourself and your loved one...It is complacent people like you that allow this kind of criminal behavior to continue. The people need to stand up and take back there city, state and country...If you don't believe that than you must not be a true American, or just a coward...
  • by ANDY Location: Colorado Springs on Jul 29, 2011 at 09:00 AM
    TO KRIS: Thank God the rest of us don't have the same thuggish attitude like you. You are kidding yourself to believe that if everyone is carrying a gun, everything will be alright. If that's your true way of thinking, you better put your pipe down--because you been smoking way too much.
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