Four people are dead after an apparent murder-suicide in unincorporated Weld County near Longmont, Colo. according to the sheriff's office.(Photo: courtesy of Sky9)
LONGMONT, Colo. - A woman who lived at the home where a triple-murder and suicide took place in this rural area northwest of Denver on Tuesday morning told police over the weekend that her ex-boyfriend had threatened to hurt her if she ever disclosed he was abusive.
The woman, 25, told Longmont, Colo., police on Saturday evening that her ex held her hostage for several hours, hit her and stole her cell phone before letting her go Saturday afternoon, according to police records.
The ex-boyfriend, 31, was arrested by police Sunday afternoon and released from jail late Monday night. A few hours later, two men and two women were dead inside the home where the woman lived with her sister.
The Fort Collins Coloradoan is not publishing the names of the people involved because authorities are still trying to notify their next-of-kin, although relatives have confirmed the names of the women killed.
At about 4 a.m. Tuesday, neighbors heard repeated gunshots from the cream-colored mobile home - "pop, pop, pop," said neighbor Manuel Nunez, 58 - and a woman called 911 from inside and blurted out the address.
"The dispatcher heard 'No, no, no,' and then gunshots," said Tim Schwartz with the Weld County Sheriff's Office. "A male party then picks up the phone and says he's going to kill himself. The dispatcher hears another gunshot."
Deputies raced to the trailer home where they found two men and two women dead inside.
According to police reports, the ex-boyfriend had previously stalked the woman to the mobile home she shared with her sister. Before he was arrested Sunday, the man told police he drove to the woman's house Saturday night and watched the lights turn off inside.
The woman told police she was repeatedly abused during the four-year-relationship that ended after a fight over Thanksgiving.
"He has threatened to hurt her if she ever contacted the police or told anyone about him being abusive," police reports say. "(She) stated she has lived in fear and could not get away from (him) during their relationship."
The gunshots woke neighbor Nunez, who ran into the living room to see what had happened. Nunez's home backs onto an open lot across the street from the mobile home where the shooting happened.
Nunez and his adult son looked out both the front and back of their home, lights off, trying to figure out where the shots came from.
"They sounded big, like maybe a 9 (millimeter)," Nunez said, explaining that he often hears gunshots from a nearby field where people target shoot.
Sheriff's deputies and the SWAT team arrived in the dark a few minutes after the shots, flashing lights further disturbing the 400-space neighborhood and alarming residents already on edge from a series of shootings around the country, including Newport, Conn.
"When it gets close to Christmas, people just..." Nunez said, his voice trailing off.
Added his wife, Linda, 53, as she looked out their back window to the ongoing investigation: "People are going crazy."
Neighborhood resident Shirley Whisman, 77, said she slept through the shooting, unaware of the police activity a few feet from her home until her son arrived early this morning.
"It's usually a very quiet neighborhood," she said. "Course, it's always shocking when these things happen."
Hughes also reports for the Fort Collins (Colo.) Coloradoan