DENVER — One week after police said Lyndon McLeod shot and killed five people in Denver and Lakewood before being shot by a Lakewood police officer, the question remains: could the murders have been prevented?
A man from Germany said the answer is complicated.
Andre Thiele said he first met McLeod online in 2018. A former publisher who lives in Germany, Thiele said he was intrigued at first by “Sanction,” McLeod's trilogy of dystopian, violence-filled novels in which he named two people whom he allegedly murdered last week – Alicia Cardenas and Michael Swinyard – and one person he attacked, his former business partner, Jeremy Costilow. McLeod also described the crimes in great detail in the novels.
Thiele said he eventually saw the books and some of McLeod's online postings as signs that McLeod was capable of committing serious acts of violence, so, in January 2021, he sent Denver Police an eight-page email warning them of just that.
“The more I learned about him, the more I realized this guy is going to kill,” Thiele said. “It was obvious I needed to contact Denver PD.”
“I cannot in good conscience say that he will act with certainty,” Thiele wrote in his email to Denver Police. “But I can say that if he should act, the result would be devastating.”
Denver Police Detective Todd Ondrak emailed Thiele right back, letting Thiele know that he would contact him with any questions. Thiele said that was the last he heard from DPD.
“No one was taking seriously what this guy was doing,” Thiele said.
In a statement Tuesday, Denver Police said, "DPD is reviewing the investigation, but based on our initial review, there was not sufficient evidence to file criminal charges or a legal basis for monitoring McLeod at the time."
9NEWS legal analyst Scott Robinson said, based on what he has seen, he’s not surprised that McLeod was not arrested before last week’s murders.
“There was no probable cause to arrest McLeod for any crime that he had committed up until that point, unless we’re going to criminalize truly bad writing,” Robinson said.
Thiele said he doesn't blame DPD for not taking action against McLeod, but he wished that his tip had been "more efficiently analyzed," and that McLeod had been stopped before he took five innocent lives.
“I had read the book, I was listening to what he was saying, but how were you going to establish whether this was somebody who just talks too much or whether this was somebody who was going to commit a terrorist act?” Thiele asked. “Everything was circumstantial. Looking at it now, I'm asking myself, should I have done more?”
Denver police are still not saying exactly what they did to investigate McLeod after Thiele's email. Thiele said he knows of at least two people, including McLeod's former girlfriend, who were contacted by detectives.
Contact 9Wants to Know crime and justice reporter Matt Jablow with tips about this or any story: Matt.Jablow@9news.com
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Investigations from 9Wants to Know