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Authorities Piecing Together The Colorado Springs Shooting That Left 7 Dead

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

A mass shooting in Colorado Springs overnight Saturday left seven people dead, including the suspected shooter. Colorado Public Radio's Dan Boyce says authorities are trying to piece together what happened. He joins us now from Colorado Springs.

Welcome.

DAN BOYCE, BYLINE: Yeah. Hi there, Ailsa.

CHANG: Hi. So what have we learned at this point?

BOYCE: Colorado Springs police say the shooting happened, as you mentioned, either in the late night hours of Saturday or very early Sunday at a birthday party at a mobile home park here in the city. And it's just stunning. This was largely a family get-together. Children were at the party. They were in the home. And police say the suspected gunman, he walked into the party, he shot the adults and then he shot himself. Now, none of the children were physically harmed, and they're now with other relatives.

CHANG: What do we know so far about this suspected shooter and his relationship to the people he's believed to have killed?

BOYCE: So police have not yet formally named him nor any of the victims, but local media outlets say through interviews and also through looking at social media posts that the gunman was in a relationship with one of the female victims. And our local paper here, the Colorado Springs Gazette, reports that the party was a combined birthday party for several members of the girlfriend's in-laws.

CHANG: What about motive here? Does anyone know what the shooter's motive might have been?

BOYCE: No. At this point, police have not released a suspected motive. Public photos of the suspected shooter on social media, they do have a photo of an assault rifle. And relatives of the victims say he was, you know, usually carrying a gun on him. Again though, you know, this couple, they appeared to be in a really serious relationship. There's a Facebook post on the woman's page suggesting the gunman had just recently bought her a small smartwatch in - as recently as late April. There're just so many questions still.

CHANG: Yeah. Yeah. Well, Colorado, of course, is no stranger to mass shootings. Unfortunately, just this past March, a gunman murdered 10 people - right? - in a supermarket in Boulder. Can you just put this weekend into some context for us? How does it compare to past violence in your state?

BOYCE: Yeah. Some important context first. Colorado actually falls in the middle of the pack among states overall when it comes to overall deaths from firearms. In this weekend alone, there were nine other incidents in which at least four people were shot across the country. But you're right, our state has had a number of the really high-profile tragedies. And we go back to, you know, our first and deadliest and most prominent. That was Columbine High School in 1999 - 15 dead, 24 wounded. We had the Aurora theater shooting in 2012 with 12 dead, 70 wounded. We had 12 people shot, three killed at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood in 2015. And at another high school, the STEM School in 2019, we had nine people shot and one person killed. And then, like you say, less than two months ago, the Boulder grocery store shooting. What's different about this one as our mayor here in Colorado Springs, John Suthers, pointed out is this doesn't appear to be anything like an act of domestic terrorism or some random ideologically driven crime. It's a domestic violence case, though...

CHANG: Yeah.

BOYCE: ...You know, one with such a painfully high body count.

CHANG: Well, what's next in this investigation?

BOYCE: It's just back to that search for a motive. And, you know, it's Colorado going through this familiar tragic news cycle all over again.

CHANG: That is Colorado Public Radio's Dan Boyce in Colorado Springs.

Thank you.

BOYCE: Thank you, Ailsa.

(SOUNDBITE OF JOHN BELTRAN'S "BEAUTIFUL ROBOTS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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