Colorado Springs police identify victims of birthday party shooting
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Police in Colorado Springs on Tuesday identified the six victims of a shooting that took place at a birthday party on Sunday. Police also identified the suspected shooter, who took his own life.
Police identified the victims as Joana Cruz, 53; Jose Gutierrez, 21; Jose Ibarra, 26; Sandra Ibarra, 28; Mayra Ibarra de Perez, 33; and Melvin Perez, 30. Police said the victims were members of two families related through the marriage of Melvin Perez and Mayra Ibarra de Perez.
“At the core of this horrendous act is domestic violence,” said Colorado Springs Police Department Chief Vince Niski. “When he wasn’t invited to a family gathering, the suspect responded by opening fire and killing six victims before taking his own life.”
Police said the suspected gunman, 28-year-old Teodoro Macias, had been dating Sandra Ibarra for about a year at the time of the shooting. Police said Macias had attended another family gathering a week before the shooting, during which there was some type of conflict.
“The suspect had a history of controlling and jealous behavior towards the victim,” the head of the violent crimes section said at a press conference. “This behavior in particular was most obvious in trying to isolate her from her family, making efforts to prevent her from attending family events.”
Police indicated, however, that there were no previously reported instances of domestic violence between the two.
According to police, the party was being held at the home of Melvin Perez’s mother, Joana Cruz, and stepfather. Several other children of Joana Cruz, including Jose Gutierrez, were also in attendance. There were 10 family members present when Macias arrived, three of whom were children aged 2, 5 and 11. Police said Macias shot all six victims “in quick succession” and then killed himself a short time later.
One of the adults was able to escape the residence unharmed to call 911 to report the shooting. None of the children were harmed, however, police said they were close to the shooting and witnessed it “to some degree.” Three other children, two 16-year-olds and one 18-year-old, had left the home shortly before the shooting to borrow something from a neighbor. They returned to the residence before police had arrived, unaware that the shooting had occurred.
When police arrived, one of the victims, Jose Gutierrez, was still alive. He told police the suspect was still in the residence, and police began a sweep to clear the home. After the home was cleared, a second sweep was conducted by medical personnel, but all other victims were found dead, along with the suspected shooter. Gutierrez was taken to the hospital, where he later died.
Police said some of the children at the party lost both parents in the shooting.
According to police, the gun that was used was purchased in 2014 by someone other than the suspected shooter. They are attempting to locate the owner to determine how the suspect was able to obtain the gun, which was never reported stolen or resold.