AURORA, Colo. (CBS4/AP)– Four people, including an armed suspect, died during an hours-long police standoff Saturday at a Colorado townhome, authorities said.
Three people were found dead inside the townhome near Hampden and Kalispell just after 9 a.m. Saturday. Aurora police Sgt. Cassidee Carlson said two men and a woman appeared to have been killed before officers arrived.
A fifth person, identified by a person close to the family as Stephanie Archuleta, escaped unharmed. She called police to report that she saw three people inside the home who “appeared lifeless,” said Carlson, who declined to elaborate about the woman’s escape.
A person close to the family confirmed the names of those who died to CBS4. The gunman has been identified as Stephanie Archuleta’s husband, Sonny Archuleta, 33. The other victims have been identified as Stephanie Archuleta’s sister, Stacie Philbrook and her boyfriend, whose name hasn’t been confirmed; and Sonny Archuleta’s father-in-law, Anthony Ticali.
The suspect had been barricaded inside the home in the 16000 block of East Ithaca Place since 3 a.m. Neighbors also had called police and said they had heard gunshots coming from the home.
Several neighboring townhomes were evacuated for safety reasons. Both directions of Hampden were shut down from Kalispell to Laredo for several hours. All lanes of Hampden were reopened at 10 a.m.
SWAT teams converged outside the home and tried to contact the person who had barricaded himself inside. They were unable to get the man to leave the residence. Teams deployed what may have been tear gas inside the home about 8:30 a.m. in an effort to get the suspect to come out.
SWAT officers fired back at the suspect after he shot at their armored vehicles from a second story window. It wasn’t known if officers shot the suspect or if he shot himself.
“After we arrived on scene, there were no more shots fired up until he fired at us,” Carlson said. “During this time he was all over the house. He moved furniture. He was throwing things. He was agitated. He was irrational.
When officers entered the home they found three people dead inside.
A motive for the killings was unknown. Police wearing gloves and carrying evidence bags were going over the crime scene.
“We’re just getting in there with our crime scene detectives, so obviously we’ll have to determine if it was our rounds or his rounds,” Carlson said.
Even though CBS4 has found the names of those involved, police have not confirmed the relationship between the gunman and those found dead or how they were killed.
“We have an idea of who they are, but we obviously want to confirm their identities with the coroner,” Carlson said.
Next-door neighbor Melissa Wright, a nurse who treated victims of the July movie theater shootings in Aurora, said she was in her second-floor bedroom when she saw the gunman start shooting from his own bedroom window. She said she didn’t know what he was shooting at, and that she quickly dropped to the floor.
“I hit the ground pretty fast,” Wright said.
Wright said she slid on her belly to the first floor of her home and told police what she saw upstairs. Officers quickly entered her home.
Wright said she knew the gunman as Sonny Archuleta — a name used by police officers trying to negotiate with the man with the bullhorn. Wright said the townhome may have been inhabited by the gunman, the gunman’s wife, her father and another man.
Sonny Archuleta has a criminal past including 2012 misdemeanor arrests for a fugitive warrant out of Aurora for reckless endangerment, in Denver for carrying a concealed weapon, and another in Denver for prohibited use of a weapon.
The officers who fired their weapons were placed on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation, which is standard procedure
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