LAKEWOOD, Colo. — The man who police said killed five people and injured two others in Denver and Lakewood Monday evening was known to investigators dating back to the middle of 2020, Denver police said Tuesday.
"This individual was on the radar of law enforcement that there were two previous investigations into this individual’s action," Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said.
Pazen said in those two instances, there was not enough evidence to file charges. He did not disclose what those cases were about.
"The offender was targeting the specific people in this case. The victims were known to the offender," Commander Matt Clark, Denver Police Major Crimes Division, said.
The Monday shooting spree ended when an officer shot and killed the suspect near the Belmar shopping center, according to John Romero with Lakewood police. The suspect was identified as Lyndon James McLeod, 47.
A Lakewood police officer fatally shot McLeod after he shot her in the abdomen, according to police. That officer sustained serious injuries and remains hospitalized.
"I can’t emphasize enough the heroic actions of our Lakewood Police agent. In the face of being shot, in the face of danger, she was able to not only save others from this terrible tragedy but also neutralize the threat," Romero said.
Sources tell 9Wants to Know McLeod was a self-published author who wrote a series of books called "Sanction." These books, which might be described as alpha male violent sci-fi novels, discussed how he'd kill the people he perceived to be his enemies, and included fantasies about violent sexual assaults.
His books described the killings in detail -- with close similarity to what police said happened Monday. The main character, also named Lyndon McLeod, goes into a home that is also a tattoo business on 6th Avenue in Denver and kills people.
Denver police describe the real McLeod bursting into a home and business off 6th Avenue and shooting, in an unsuccessful attempt to kill people there during his shooting spree.
"There were prior relationships -- either personal relationships or business relationships -- that were involved there," Clark said.
The shooting spree began just before 5:30 p.m. Pazen said there were a total of four shooting scenes in Denver:
- East First Avenue and Broadway around 5:25 p.m.: Three people were shot at Sol Tribe at 56 South Broadway. Family members of the victims said Alicia Cardenas and Alyssa Gunn-Maldonado were killed, and Jimmy Maldonado was injured. He is in critical condition but is expected to survive, Denver police said.
- West 6th Avenue and Cherokee Street around 5:31 p.m.: Denver police said McLeod gained entry to a combined home and business. He chased the occupants through the building, firing shots. No one was injured in the shooting. Police said a van was set on fire in the alley behind the building, and they believe McLeod set that fire.
- East 12th Avenue and North Williams Street around 5:45 p.m.: One man was shot and killed just inside his home.
- West 8th Avenue and Zuni Street around 5:49 p.m.: Denver police tried to pull over the suspect following a chase. There was an exchange of gunfire between the suspect and a Denver police officer. A DPD police vehicle was disabled, but there were no other injuries.
"He continued through 8th Avenue at Zuni where it dead ends and became stopped," Clark said. "The officers stopped their vehicle and the offender turned and began firing at the officers."
> Watch the full update from Tuesday afternoon:
After the Denver shootings, police said, the suspect fled to Lakewood, where another shooting happened at the Lucky 13 tattoo parlor at 1550 Kipling Street. Lakewood police said Danny Scofield, 38, was killed in that shooting.
Officers spotted the suspect's van near the Belmar area of Lakewood and tried to pull it over, according to police.
The suspect began shooting at officers, and officers fired back, according to Romero. The suspect was able to escape, and Romero said he ran into a nearby business and threatened people there with a gun.
He then ran into the Hyatt House hotel where, according to police, he shot a clerk working at the hotel. The clerk, 28-year-old Sarah Steck, was taken to the hospital, where she died Tuesday.
"The suspect was seen walking into the Hyatt House, had a very brief conversation with the front desk worker. He then shot the front desk worker several times," Romero said.
Hyatt House Denver/Lakewood at Belmar said Wednesday that they are temporarily suspending operations out of respect for Steck and to provide time for the hotel team to mourn.
Investigators said two weapons were found on McLeod, but did not disclose what kind of weapons.
Police are still looking for any witnesses who may have more information on this killing spree. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Denver or Lakewood police departments.
"To try to get to a motive and try to answer the why questions that our community has for the loss of five lives," Pazen said.
> Watch the full update from Monday night:
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