Person Of Interest In Black Forest Fatal Shootings In Custody
BLACK FOREST, Colo. (CBS4) – A man wanted in connection with three shootings, two of them fatal, in Black Forest was taken into custody Sunday morning.
Another person is listed in serious condition.
Deputies arrested Kenneth “Tex” Lankford, 46, Sunday morning in a wooded area not far from the crime scenes. He was identified as a person of interest in the shootings that occurred Saturday morning, but is not being called a suspect. He was considered armed and dangerous as deputies searched for him.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Department is conducting interviews to determine if Lankford had a role in the shootings.
KKTV in Colorado Springs is reporting that one of the victims is Lankford’s wife, Terry Thoke Trout, according to her mother, Clara Trout.
According to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department, deputies responded to Timberlane Court after 8 a.m. on Saturday and found one person who was shot and killed. They haven’t said where the other two shootings occurred but said they also responded to a reported crime about 5 miles away on Burrows Road around 11 a.m.
Lankford was taken into custody with the help of K-9 units and a Denver police helicopter near the area of Hodgen and Steppler roads. Residents in the area were asked to stay in their homes while they searched for Lankford.
Neighbors told CBS4 Lankford crashed a vehicle he was driving into a fence near where he was found by law enforcement. Authorities were looking for a stolen red 2002 Honda Odyssey with Colorado license plate 048-GJB that may have been in possession of Lankford, but it’s not clear if that was the vehicle that crashed.
Area resident Lee Patke said officers barricaded the area to find him.
“It was dark. There were three or four guys in full gear and guns and everything just checking out all potential hiding places behind houses,” Patke said.
Lankford is believed to be connected to one of the crime scenes. Neighbors told CBS4 he may have lived in the residence on Burrows Road.
Jill Freeman was Lankford’s former neighbor before Lankford’s previous home burned down in the Black Forest Fire. She said Lankford and his wife Terry Trout had a troubling marriage.
“She came over one day with a dog and asked if I could watch her dog. She said Kenneth didn’t like her dog and was afraid to leave it. She was afraid he might harm it,” Freeman told CBS4. “She said, ‘I used to be much happier before I was married.’ ”
Police have not confirmed that Terry Trout was killed and also haven’t released the names of the other victims.
The sheriff’s department reported multiple crime scenes, meaning there could be even more, but haven’t released much information and have been careful naming a suspect.