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Colorado Springs Police Seek Motive In Birthday Party Shooting

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Updated Monday at 1:02 p.m.

Police on Monday are investigating what led a gunman, who they said was the boyfriend of one of the victims, to walk into a crowded birthday party inside a trailer park home in Colorado Springs early Sunday and open fire.

Six adults were killed at the home at the Canterbury Mobile Home Park on the east side of Colorado's second-largest city, and a seventh died at a hospital, authorities said. The shooter was the boyfriend of a female victim at the party attended by friends, family and children, police said.

Authorities didn't release the names of the victims, gunman or disclose a possible motive. Nor did they release any further details on what weapon or weapons were used. Officials were still in the process of identifying the victims, Sandy Wilson of the El Paso County Coroner’s Office said Monday.

A mobile crime lab was parked Monday outside the home, which was cordoned off by yellow police tape as officers guarded the scene.

The first fire crews to respond to the shooting were told to stay back because of possible gunfire — then given an all-clear to approach the home an agonizing eight minutes after the initial dispatch, according to a recording of a Colorado Springs dispatch call.

As the magnitude of the shooting became clearer, the first on the scene requested more ambulances and engine crews. Sirens are heard in the background as responders at the scene request more help.

“Engine 11, sounds like more shots are still being fired -- keep your distance,” a dispatcher says at one point. Twenty seconds later the engine crew responds: “Looking like we have multiple victims,” and asks for more ambulances. The dispatcher requests another engine to “2828 Preakness Way, possible multiple gunshot victims.”

More than eight minutes in, the dispatcher says that “police on scene are advising that there are four victims and that you are clear to go in.” Soon thereafter, Engine 11 requests another ambulance; 13 minutes in the dispatcher says: “The sergeant on the scene is saying that medical is cleared to enter for all six patients. ... They’re saying we have six.”

The attack was the latest mass killing — defined as four or more dead, not including the shooter — to plague the U.S. this year. Before the Colorado Springs shooting, a database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University showed there had been at least 11 mass shootings since Jan. 1, compared to just two public mass shootings in 2020.

After the mass shooting that killed 10 people at a Boulder King Soopers grocery store in March, Colorado lawmakers introduced a bill to create a state “Office of Gun Violence Prevention” to educate residents about gun safety and collect data on Colorado gun violence. Other bills advancing through the Democrat-led Legislature would tighten background checks and allow municipalities greater freedom to adopt their own gun control laws that are stricter than state law.

Gov. Jared Polis has signed into law this year legislation requiring safe firearms storage and the reporting of lost or stolen firearms.

The original story continues below.

A gunman opened fire at a birthday party in Colorado Springs, slaying six adults before killing himself Sunday, police said.

The shooting happened just after midnight in a mobile home park on the east side of the city, police said.

Officers arrived at a trailer to find six dead adults and a man with serious injuries who died later at a hospital, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported.

The suspected shooter was the boyfriend of a female victim at the party attended by friends, family and children. He walked inside and opened fire before shooting himself, police said.

The birthday party was for one of the people killed, police said.

Neighbor Yenifer Reyes told The Denver Post she woke to the sound of many gunshots.

“I thought it was a thunderstorm,” Reyes said. “Then I started hearing sirens.”

Police brought children out of the trailer and put them into at least one patrol car, she said, adding that the children were “crying hysterically.”

Authorities say the children, who weren’t hurt in the attack, have been placed with relatives.

Police on Sunday hadn't released the identities of the shooter or victims. Authorities say a motive wasn't immediately known.

“My heart breaks for the families who have lost someone they love and for the children who have lost their parents,” Colorado Springs Police Chief Vince Niski said in a statement.

“The tragic shooting in Colorado Springs is devastating,” Gov. Jared Polis said Sunday, “especially as many of us are spending the day celebrating the women in our lives who have made us the people we are today.”

Colorado Springs, population 465,000, is Colorado's second-biggest city after Denver.

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.

Copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved.