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Police: Denver shooting spree suspect targeted victims, had been previously investigated

Denver Shooting spree
Posted at 8:01 AM, Dec 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-29 08:01:45-05

Police say that the suspect accused of killing five people and injuring three others in a Monday night shooting spree was known to law enforcement and that he targeted some of his victims.

The suspect, identified by police as 47-year-old Lyndon McLeod, was shot and killed by police after he went on an hours-long shooting spree in Denver and the nearby town of Lakewood on Monday.

During a news conference Tuesday, a spokesperson with the Denver Police Department confirmed the suspect was on the radar of law enforcement and had been investigated on two prior occasions — once in mid-2020 and most recently in early 2021. Police declined to answer questions about what those investigations entailed, only saying they did not lead to criminal charges against him.

According to preliminary findings of the investigation, the rampage began Monday at the suspect's first target: A tattoo parlor near 1st Avenue and Broadway in Denver. There, the gunman shot and killed Alyssa Gunn-Maldonado and 44-year-old Alicia Cardenas, the owner of Sol Tribe Tattoo & Piercing.

Maldonado's husband was injured in that shooting and is in critical condition, according to a spokesperson with the Denver Police Department. He is expected to survive.

Following the initial shooting, the suspect reportedly burglarized a home near West 6th Ave. and Cherokee Street. Shots were fired during the shooting, but no one was injured.

He then broke into a home near Denver's Cheesman Park at around 5:45 p.m., where he shot and killed one man inside, according to police.

McLeod's vehicle was next spotted by police at 8th Ave. and Zuni St. in Denver. Officers briefly cornered him before he shot at them, disabling a police vehicle and fleeing the scene. No officers were injured in that exchange of gunfire, police said.

During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, officials with the Denver Police Department said McLeod knew all of the victims in the city of Denver. They did not specify his relationship with any of the victims.

Just before 6 p.m., Lakewood police received a call about a shooting at the Lucky Thirteen Tattoo shop. Surveillance video captured McLeod entering the shop with a gun in hand. Lakewood police officers said he shot and killed 38-year-old Danny Scofield before leaving the tattoo shop ten seconds later and taking off in a black-colored van.

About four minutes later, Lakewood police said they were able to positively identify McLeod after a "be on the lookout" alert was shared with police departments across the metro. When agents tried to contact McLeod, he reportedly fired at officers, according to police.

The suspect then fled on foot into a shopping area. He threatened people inside a business with a firearm and retreated into the Hyatt House hotel near. There, he had a brief conversation with a front desk clerk before he shot her multiple times, police said during the Tuesday news conference. The woman, who died Tuesday at an area hospital, was identified by police as 28-year-old Sarah Steck.

Shortly after the deadly shooting, McLeod encountered Lakewood agents and fired at them after they ordered him to lower his weapon, a Lakewood police spokesperson said. McLeod refused and fired at an officer, who was shot in the abdomen but who was able to gain her composure and fired back.

Officials did not release the identity of the injured police officer. The agent, only identified as a woman, has been with the department for three years and is stable after undergoing surgery, police said.

McLeod was eventually shot and killed by police, the spokesman said.