Seven dead, including suspects, shot at the Colorado birthday party, but children were spared
By Keith Coffman
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (Reuters) – A man shot dead six people, including his girlfriend, before shooting himself fatally at a birthday party in Colorado Springs, Colorado earlier Sunday, sparing the children in a trailer in a motor home park, officials said .
“The suspect, a friend of one of the female victims, drove into the residence, went inside and started shooting people at the party before killing himself,” said a statement from the Colorado Springs Police Department.
Police arrived to find six dead and a seventh who was badly wounded and died after being rushed to hospital.
“Friends, family and children were gathered in the trailer to celebrate when the shooting took place,” the statement said.
One motive has yet to be determined.
The massacre, about 110 km south of Denver, marks the most recent resurgence of mass shootings in the United States after such incidents appeared to have subsided during the height of the coronavirus pandemic restrictions.
Incidents that year included one in Boulder, Colorado, where a 21-year-old man was accused of killing 10 people in a rampage on March 22 in a supermarket about 50 km northwest of Denver. That came less than a week after another 21-year-old gunman was accused of killing eight people in three day spas in the Atlanta area.
Colorado was also the state where two other fatal rampages took place, both in the Denver area: the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School that killed 15 people, including the two perpetrators, and the 2012 shooting in an Aurora Cinema that killed 12 people and wounded around 70. The Aurora shooter is serving a life sentence.
The recent shootings have revived the gun control debate. Democratic President Joe Biden called it a “national embarrassment” and called for new laws from Congress.
But he faces an uphill battle in the face of opposition from gun rights advocates, including Republicans and some Democrats, who cite the U.S. Constitution’s protection of gun ownership rights.
Colorado Springs Police Chief Vince Niski said “my heart breaks for the families” when he attacked and promised to support them on Sunday.
“My vow to this church and to the families who have lost someone today is that this department will do everything possible to find the answers you deserve and to be there for you with unwavering support,” said Niski in the police statement.
“FAMILY TORN APARTMENT”
Police said they had withheld details of the shooting for several hours “in order to properly and respectfully notify family members of the deceased and to ensure that assistance is available”.
The names of the victims will be published later, the statement said.
The shooting took place at the Canterbury Manufactured Home Community, a RV park with around 470 trailers in the southeast of the city near Colorado Springs Airport.
Police blocked the area where a mobile crime lab was parked near the house. A small group of adults stood nearby, some of them sobbing audibly, along with a small child.
It took place as Americans celebrated Mother’s Day on Sunday and “celebrated the women in our lives,” Colorado Governor Jared Polis said in a statement.
“This horrific act of violence took the lives of several people today. Families were torn apart and no fewer at a birthday party,” said Polis.