6 dead, including suspected gunman, after Denver-area shooting spree, police say

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — Five people were killed and two others were injured in a shooting spree that stretched across Denver and into the nearby Colorado city of Lakewood, authorities said Monday. The suspected gunman was shot and killed by police, officials said.

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Update 3:22 p.m. EST Dec. 28: The city/county medical examiner has identified Michael Swinyard, 67, as one of the victims who were killed in the shootings Monday, CNN reported.

Police said a victim was killed near Cheesman Park but had not released the man’s name. Swinyard lives a block north of the park.

Update 7 p.m. EST Dec. 28: At a news conference Tuesday, authorities identified the man suspected of gunning down several people in a string of shootings Monday in the Denver area as Lyndon James Mcleod, 47.

Five people died as a result of the shootings, which began Monday afternoon in Denver. Officials had earlier reported that four people had died, excluding the gunman.

Authorities said Mcleod shot three people at a business near Broadway and 1st Avenue around 5:25 p.m. Monday, killing two women and injuring a man. Denver police declined to identify those slain Tuesday, although family members told news stations that 44-year-old Alicia Cardenas, the owner of Sol Tribe Tattoo & Piercing, was among those killed. Family members identified the second victim as Alyssa Maldonado and said the man injured was her husband, KCNC-TV reported.

The man remained in critical condition at a hospital on Tuesday, said Matt Clark, commander of the Denver police major crimes division. He is expected to survive.

A short while after the shooting, police responded to a report of a burglary-in-progress at home in a mixed residential and business building on the 200 block of West 6th Avenue, Clark said. Investigators believe Mcleod forced his way into the residence and opened fire on people inside, though authorities said no one was injured. Police suspect that Mcleod set fire to a van parked in the alley behind the building before leaving the area.

Around 5:45 p.m., police got a report of a shooting in the 1200 block of Williams Street and found a man who had been shot and killed just inside his home, officials said. The man has not been identified.

A short while later, officers spotted a black Ford Econoline van linked to Mcleod and attempted to stop him. The pursuit ended at a dead end, where officials said Mcleod got out of the van and began firing at officers. One officer fired back. No injuries were reported, although officials said Mcleod managed to disable the car the officers had been driving in, and he was able to get away.

Investigators said Mcleod then traveled to Lakewood, where he opened fire at the Lucky 13 tattoo parlor. He shot and killed an employee, identified as 38-year-old Danny Scofield, before leaving the area, said John Romero, public information officer for the Lakewood Police Department.

A short while later, police spotted the van linked to Mcleod and tried to stop it in the Belmar shopping area. Authorities said he shot at officers, who returned fire before he managed to escape.

Minutes later, Romero said Mcleod was seen walking into the Hyatt House at the shopping center and having a brief conversation with the front desk worker.

“He then shot the front desk worker several times,” Romero said. “She was also later pronounced dead at the hospital.”

Romero identified the Hyatt House employee as Sarah Steck, 28.

After leaving the hotel, Mcleod encountered a Lakewood police agent in the Belmar shopping center, officials said. He shot her after she ordered him to drop his weapon, police said.

“That agent, courageously, after being shot, was able to somehow compose herself and return fire on the suspect, striking him,” Romero said. “Eventually he was also pronounced dead at the scene.”

Authorities declined to identify the injured agent on Tuesday beyond saying that she is a 3-year veteran of the department who underwent surgery at a local hospital and has since been listed in stable condition.

“She will need more surgeries, but she is in stable condition and doing well,” Romero said. “Right now, we just want to extend our love, our prayers (and) our thoughts, not only to our agent and her family, but to the families and the victims of everyone involved, both in Denver and in Lakewood.”

Update 5:55 p.m. EST Dec. 28: Family members identified one of the people slain in Monday’s shootings as 44-year-old Alicia Cardenas, the owner of Sol Tribe Tattoo & Piercing, KMGH-TV reported. She was described on the shop’s website as a mural artist, a cultural anthropologist and “a proud Indigenous artist” who began with an apprenticeship in her field when she was 16.

“She was a beacon of light for an enormous number of marginalized people, a fierce warrior and leader,” her friend, Aloria Weaver, told KMGH.

Alicia Cardenas’ father, Alfredo Cardenas, told USA Today on Tuesday that his 12-year-old granddaughter was with her father at the time of the shooting and had yet to understand what had happened to her mother.

“She’s going (to) need a lot of love and compassion,” he said, according to USA Today.

Alicia Cardenas was one of two women killed in the first shooting reported Monday, at Broadway and 1st Avenue, according to KMGH. At least two other shootings later took place at or near tattoo shops, USA Today reported.

The motive behind the shooting remained unclear Tuesday. Officials did not immediately release the names of the victims or the suspect killed Monday.

Authorities continue to investigate.

Original report: Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said the shootings began at about 5 p.m. MST and were connected, KMGH-TV reported.

“This one individual was responsible for this very violent crime spree that took place this evening,” Pazen told reporters.

The suspect involved in the shooting was fatally shot near the Belmar shopping center in Lakewood, John Romero a spokesperson with the Lakewood Police Department, told reporters. Police in Denver and Lakewood said they believe that the same suspect was involved in all of the shootings, and that there is no further danger to the public, KUSA-TV reported.

Pazen said there were a total of four shooting scenes in Denver:

  • East First Avenue and North Broadway. Three people were shot. Two women were killed and a man was injured.
  • 12th Avenue and North Williams Street. One man was shot and killed.
  • 6th and Cherokee. There were no injuries reported in this shooting.
  • 8th and Zuni. Denver Police attempted to pull over the suspect following a chase. There was an exchange of gunfire between the suspect and an officer. A Denver Police Department vehicle was disabled but there were no other injuries.

Lakewood police said two people are dead, including the suspected gunman, KDVR-TV reported. Another person was injured.

A police officer in Lakewood was injured during the shootings, according to KMGH.

“This is the holiday season. To have this type of spree take place is not normal for our community,” Pazen told reporters. “We cannot lose sight of the victims in this, the people that are still fighting for their lives, including a Lakewood agent.”