LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) – Police in Northern Colorado said there is no direct link between the murder of a 65-year-old man overnight in Loveland and two apparently random shootings in the region that authorities say are connected, but there are several similarities.
Just before 11 p.m. on Wednesday officers responded to a call of a man bleeding from gunshot wounds and lying on the sidewalk in the area of East 1st Street and St. Louis Avenue.
Emergency responders tried to save the man, but he died there. He’s been identified as William Roger Connole Jr. of Loveland. The coroner said Connole’s cause of death was a gunshot wound.
Police are referring to the case as a homicide, and say a task force is now trying to determine if there’s any connection to the two recent linked shootings in Northern Colorado that have authorities concerned.
“There are enough likenesses to this case that we, as an agency, immediately reached out to the task force that is assigned to investigate this and other crimes with us,” said Loveland Police Chief Luke Hecker.
In one incident in late April, a woman was shot and wounded while she was driving along Interstate 25 in Fort Collins. In the other case, bicyclist John Jacoby was killed on May 18 in Windsor.
“Right now, it’s still early,” Loveland police Sgt. Mike Halloran told The Associated Press. “We don’t have enough information to show there is a link, and we don’t have enough information to show there isn’t a link.”
Authorities said there are several similarities in the shootings that have the Loveland Police Department joining resources from the pre-existing task force investigating the other two related shootings.
The task force consists of the Windsor Police Department, FBI, Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Weld County Sheriff’s Office, Weld County DA, Larimer County DA, the Loveland Police Department and additional resources as needed.
Police would not confirm whether they have questioned anyone in connection with the shootings, but did ask the public to be vigilant.
“Channel what might be fear into being productive. Help us look, keep your eyes open, pay attention in your neighborhoods, look for things that might be out of place,” said Hecker.
CBS4 spoke with Connole’s friend and neighbor, Russell Harmon, who says he’s both angry and now frightened that someone may be targeting Northern Coloradans.
“Whoever is doing all these shootings has something going on inside of their head and they don’t need to take it out on innocent people. He had just beaten cancer, he was full of life,” Harmon said. “I feel a sense of loss in my heart, and then there’s the resentment and anger.”
Harmon said he wants answers.
“There’s something going on around Northern Colorado. There’s a perpetrator on the loose and something needs to be done,” he said. “Stop taking it out on innocent people — take it out on yourself.”
The FBI continues to offer a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for these crimes.
Police in Loveland released the following information about this case:
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers of Larimer County at 970-221-6868.