Seven people are dead after a man opened fire inside a family birthday party at a mobile home in Colorado Springs, minutes into the Mother’s Day holiday, according to police.
The killings happened just after midnight Sunday morning at the Canterbury Mobile Home Park on Preakness Way, on the east side of the city, near the airport. Officers, dispatched on report of a shooting, arrived at a trailer to find six dead adults and a man with serious injuries. That man later died at the hospital, Colorado Springs police said in a Sunday news release.
The suspect, the boyfriend of a female victim, drove to a trailer where a birthday party was being held with friends, family and children. He walked inside and began shooting party attendees before taking his own life, police said, adding that the children present “are now with relatives.”
The incident was Colorado’s worst mass shooting since a gunman killed 10 people at a Boulder supermarket March 22.
In a Sunday statement Colorado Gov. Jared Polis called the mass murder a “terrible act of violence,” occurring as “many of us are spending the day celebrating the women in our lives who have made us the people we are today.”
“Families torn apart, and at a birthday party, no less,” he said.
A woman who lives nearby in the mobile home park said she awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of what she believes were gunshots and eventually heard crying outside. Two young children were put in the back of a patrol car.
“And on Mothers Day,” said the woman, who did not wish to be named.
Jennifer Reyes, who also lives in the mobile home community, said she and her husband woke in the middle of the night to the sound of police sirens headed down the street. When they looked out their window around 12:30 a.m., “there were already a lot of cops out,” she said.
“Thank goodness no children were injured,” said Reyes, who has lived for three years in the community, which she called a “pretty quiet neighborhood.”
The neighborhood was somber on Sunday afternoon, with some drivers slowing to peer past “road closed” signs, and family and friends gathering outside the trailer where the shooting occurred.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers called the shooting a “senseless act of violence” and asked for the public’s patience as the police department investigates.
“Today we find ourselves mourning the loss of lives and praying solemnly for those who were injured and those who lost family members,” Suthers said in a Sunday statement. “We think too of the emergency personnel who responded to a horrific scene and we keep them in our prayers today.”
Colorado Springs Police Chief Vince Niski said officers and investigators who responded “are all left incredibly shaken.”
“This is something you hope never happens in your own community, in the place that you call home,” he said.
“My vow to this community and to the families who have lost someone today is that this department will do everything we can to find you the answers you deserve and be here for you with an unwavering support.”
The investigation is ongoing, with the department’s Violent Crimes Section leading it. The names of the victims and the suspect will be released once the coroner has identified them, officials said.
Those with information about the murders who have not spoken with detectives are asked to call the Colorado Springs Police Department at (719) 444-7000, or the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at (719) 634-STOP (7867) or 1-800-222-8477, if they wish to remain anonymous.
In 2015, a man shot three people to death at random before dying in a shootout with police in Colorado Springs on Halloween. Less than a month later, a man killed three people, including a police officer, and injured eight others in a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in the city.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.