US: Gunman kills 4, injures officer in Denver area

us gunman kills 4 injures officer in denver area
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Police have called the shooting that left at least four people dead across the Denver area a “very violent crime spree.” The suspect has also died.

A gunman killed at least four people and injured an officer in the Denver area, police said Monday.

The suspect also died Monday after a series of shootings, Lakewood authorities said.

Police exchanged gunfire with the suspect, the local KDVR channel reported.

“This one individual was responsible for this very violent crime spree that took place this evening,” said Paul Pazen, chief of the Denver Police Department.

The gunman has not been publicly identified. 

The conditions of the injured officer and civilians were also not immediately known, police said.

What we know so far about the shooting

The rampage began around 5 p.m. local time when the shooter shot and killed two women and wounded a man near downtown Denver, Pazen said during a news briefing.

The gunman then fled in a car and fatally shot a man in east Denver’s Cheesman Park neighborhood, before opening fire again in a west Denver community where no one was hit, Pazen added.

The suspect then twice exchanged gunfire from his vehicle with police officers pursuing him, disabling a police cruiser.

US: Gunman kills 4, injures officer in Denver area
People walk past the Sol Tribe tattoo shop on Broadway, the scene of the first in the series of shootings

According to Lakewood Police spokesman John Romero, the gunman then drove into the neighboring city of Lakewood, where he shot and killed a fourth person inside an unspecified business.

The suspect escaped from Lakewood police when they tried to pull him over and engaged in a series of shootings with officers before fleeing on foot. 

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The gunman entered a hotel, where he shot and wounded a worker, Romero said. He then shot at police officers again, wounding one, before police shot him dead, Romero told reporters.

Pandemic sees uptick in gun violence

The rampage marked the latest in a resurgence of mass shootings in the US after they receded during the peak of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Activists and officials say easy access to guns is contributing to a long-running problem of gun violence in and around Denver, exacerbated by the pandemic and its effect on mental health. 

In May, gunman Teodoro Macias, 28, fatally shot his girlfriend and five other people at a birthday party before killing himself in Colorado Springs, about 110 kilometers (70 miles) south of Denver. Police said he had “power and control issues” and was upset because he was not invited to the gathering.

In March, 22-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa was accused of killing 10 people in a supermarket shooting in Boulder, about 45 kilometers northwest of Denver. Authorities have not identified a motive for the attack. A Colorado judge ruled in early December that Alissa is incompetent to stand trial after two separate court-ordered psychological evaluations had both concluded that he is mentally unfit.

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