‘Horrendous act’: 7 including suspect killed in shooting at Colorado Springs birthday party
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Two families were gathered in a home for a birthday party when a man barged in with a gun.
A few minutes later, the joyful celebration would become the site of the worst carnage the city of Colorado Springs had ever seen.
‘Words fall short to describe the tragedy’
Surviving relatives say the celebration at a house in the Canterbury Manufactured Home Community was a joint birthday party for siblings Nubia Marquez, turning 29, and Melvin Perez, turning 31.
“My mom had always liked celebrating them together,” Marquez told 11 News partner The Gazette.
Marquez and her husband reportedly left the party at 10 p.m. on May 8.
“Everybody was calm, everybody was good,” Freddy Marquez told The Gazette.
At 12:18 a.m. on May 9, the first of three 911 calls came through.
“One of the calls originated from a phone from inside of the residence and captured the sound of rapid gunfire,” said Lt. Joe Frabbiele with the Colorado Springs Police Department Violent Crimes Unit.
“Twenty-eight twenty Preakness Way for a gunshot victim. ... Sounds like there are several people on scene.” - Colorado Springs Fire Department and EMS scanner
Police say when 28-year-old Teodoro Macias showed up, 10 people were inside the home: seven adults ranging in age from 20s to 50s and three children ages 2, 5 and 11. There appeared to be no warning that he was coming over.
“We believe that he just showed up and entered the mobile home and started shooting,” Niski said.
Six guests were shot in quick succession, then police say the suspect turned the gun on himself. Seventeen shell casings would be recovered at the scene.
“Sounds like more shots are still being fired. Keep your distance.” - Colorado Springs Fire Department and EMS scanner
Investigators believe the children were in the room when the gunman started shooting.
“Based on the investigation thus far they were in the main room when this event started to happen, but eventually retreated to a bedroom to seek cover.”
One guest was reportedly in the bathroom as the gunfire went off and was the only adult to survive the massacre.
“The adult who escaped placed the third 911 call at 12:22 a.m. They reported that someone had shot their family,” Frabbiele said.
The horrific scene was discovered by three teens who were at the party earlier but had run to grab something from a neighbor.
“Unaware that the shooting had occurred in their absence they return to the residence to discover what happened prior to the police arrival. They attempted to render aid, and gave shelter to the younger children.”
Melvin Perez, 30
Mayra Ibarra De Perez, 33, wife of Melvin
Joana Cruz, 52, mother of Melvin
Jose Gutierrez, 21, brother of Melvin
Sandra Ibarra-Perez, 28, sister of Mayra Perez
Jose Ibarra, 26, brother of Mayra Perez
“The families are associated through the marriage of Mayra and Melvin Perez,” Frabbiele said.
**We are continuing to learn about the victims and will update this section as we get more information.**
Gutierrez was still alive when officers got on scene. Despite his life-threatening injuries, he was able to give officers crucial information on the gunman.
“They received information from this victim that the suspect was still inside the residence. This information was accurate, but they were unaware the suspect was deceased. As a result, they made a tactical entry, unsure if the suspect was still active within the residence. They were able to shield the surviving victim while clearing the residence, and immediately began rendering medical assistance while continuing to clear and secure the residence,” Frabbiele said.
“Updated triage. We have that one critical that’s already been transported and six black.” - Colorado Springs Fire Department and EMS scanner
Gutierrez was then transported to a hospital but succumbed to his injuries shortly after arriving.
‘A stark reminder how lethal domestic violence incidences can be’
Investigators say the shooter gunned down six innocent people because he was angry that he wasn’t invited to the party.
“At the core of this horrendous act is domestic violence. The suspect, who was in a relationship with one of the victims, displayed power and control issues in this relationship. When he wasn’t invited to a family gathering the suspect responded by opening fire in killing six victims before taking his own life,” Niski told reporters during a news conference Tuesday.
There are no reports the gunman was every physically abusive prior to the killings. But according to local non-profit TESSA, which helps victims of domestic abuse, the controlling behavior he showed is one of the key indicators a relationship could escalate into deadly violence. (Click here for what the danger signs are that a person could be killed by their partner.)
The shooter took his outrage over the snub out on the whole family.
“Twenty-five percent of the victims of homicides related to domestic violence are not the people involved in the relationship, but are either police officers that respond, family members or bystanders. And, what we have here is, you know, a situation where all of these people were together, he apparently had anger directed at the adults and his partner, and the tragic consequences are unfathomable,” Mayor John Suthers said.
Officials say the killings are a stark reminder of how relationship violence can end.
“In Colorado we’ve had domestic terrorism incidents where lots with people were killed. We’ve had random acts like going into a King Soopers or a movie theater, but let’s not forget about the lethality of domestic violence,” Suthers said.
If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic violence, call the TESSA hotline at 719-633-3819. The hotline is available 24/7.
The shooting left some of the surviving children orphaned.
“One of the smaller children, and some of the teenagers lost both parents,” Frabbiele said.
Nubia Marquez lost her mother and two brothers, Melvin Perez and Jose Gutierrez.
Countless other family members have lost relatives.
“Family should never to experience this type of loss or have a loved one taken from them,” Niski said. “To the victims, Sandra Ibarra Perez, Jose Ibarra, Mayra Ibarra De Perez, Melvin Perez, Jose Gutierrez, and Joana Cruz, my vow to you and your family is that we will continue our work to find you every answer you deserve.”
As the suspect sprayed bullets across the home, an errant round hit the next-door neighbor’s home where a grandmother and grandchildren were sleeping.
“[My roommate] came to my room and woke me up and told me that shots were fired and then I found out one hit my house. So I have bullet holes in my house that I have to figure out,” said Jayme Ponting.
Ponting said the bullet hit her bedroom.
“My fear was I had my grandkids here and we were on the same room.”
Police say it was a neighbor who made the second 911 call.
The investigation is shifting to how the shooter obtained the gun.
“It was purchased from a dealer back in 2014 at a local gun store. The suspect did not purchase the firearm during that transaction. Follow-up is currently being done even at this moment to locate an interview the individual who originally purchased this firearm. This is the only listed transaction for this firearm,” Frabbiele said.
A toxicology report is being conducted on the suspect, which is a normal part of any autopsy at the El Paso County Coroner’s Office.
The suspect had no history of suicide ideation that law enforcement is aware of and did not leave a note.
Police say the lack of invite to the birthday party may have stemmed from a conflict between the suspect and family at a previous gathering one week earlier.
Statements from leaders in the Colorado Springs community and across the state:
“As the chief of police, as a husband, as a father, as a grandfather, as a member of this community, my heart breaks for the families who have lost someone they love and for the children who have lost their parents. From the officers who responded to the shooting to the investigators still on scene, we are all left incredibly shaken. This is something you hope never happens in your own community, in the place that you call home. When these types of unspeakable acts happen, there is nothing that can be done to fully rebuild what was lost or replace those who are no longer with us. My vow to this community and to the families who have lost someone today, is that this department will do everything we can to find you the answers you deserve and be here for you with an unwavering support.”
“Today we find ourselves mourning the loss of lives and praying solemnly for those who were injured and those who lost family members in a senseless act of violence on Sunday morning. We think too of the emergency personnel who responded to a horrific scene and we keep them in our prayers today.”
Governor Jared Polis:
“The tragic shooting in Colorado Springs is devastating, especially as many of us are spending the day celebrating the women in our lives who have made us the people we are today. Multiple lives were taken today by this terrible act of violence. Families torn apart, and at a birthday party no less. My deepest condolences and prayers are with the victims, their families, and everyone else impacted by this tragedy.”
Senator John Hickenlooper:
“This is absolutely terrible. I grieve for the victims and with their families. I’m horrified that children witnessed this tragedy. My thoughts are with Colorado Springs and our whole state on this dark day.”
Senator Michael Bennet:
“Absolutely heartbreaking. We stand with the victims, their loved ones, and the Colorado Springs community during this tragedy.”
Anyone with any information is urged to call the Colorado Springs Police Department at 719-444-7000. Callers wishing to remain anonymous can leave tips with Crime Stoppers at 719-634-STOP.
Click here to read the official account of the incident as written by the Colorado Springs Police Department.
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