Fifth victim dies in Denver-area rampage that police say was targeted
A fifth victim has died after a gunman repeatedly escaped police and carried out what authorities described Tuesday as a violent and targeted rampage in the Denver metro area.
Sarah Steck, 28, died at a local hospital on Tuesday. Steck was employed at Hyatt House, a hotel in suburban Denver, Lakewood Police spokesman John Romero said at a press conference.
A Lakewood police officer who shot the suspect after gunshot wounds remained hospitalized and in stable condition, Romero said.
Authorities have publicly identified the suspect, Lyndon James McLeod, 47.
Based on a preliminary investigation, investigators determined that the suspect was “targeting specific people,” Cmdr. Matt Clark of the Denver Police Department said.
It was not clear why McLeod shot Steck, although he may have had “a problem” with the hotel, Clark said.
In a written statement, the hotel’s general manager, Andra Alvarez, did not clarify what McLeod’s connection might be to the Hyatt House. The hotel is temporarily suspending operations to allow workers to cry, she said.
âColleagues and guests knew Sarah for her infectious laughter and her love of kittens, art and music, especially Blink-182,â Alvarez said. “But most of all, Sarah loved her boyfriend, family and friends. She will be sadly missed.”
Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said McLeod was “on law enforcement’s radar” and had been investigated twice – once in mid-2020 and once in mid-2020. another earlier this year. No investigation led to state or criminal charges, and Pazen declined to provide further details about the investigations or what led to them.
Pazen added that a pattern in what he called a “wave of violent crime” was not clear.
The rampage began shortly after 5 p.m. Monday, when two adult women were shot dead and a man was injured inside a business near downtown Denver, Clark said. Authorities have not identified the victims, although NBC affiliate KUSA in Denver said the company was the Sol Tribe tattoo parlor.
Clark said McLeod then broke into a nearby house and business and opened fire on residents, but no one was hurt. After setting a pickup truck on fire in an alleyway behind the building, McLeod shot dead an adult male inside a house a few miles away, Clark said.
The man has not been identified.
A police chase and shootout with McLeod, who was driving a black Ford Econoline van, followed, Clark said. McLeod “deactivated” the officers’ vehicle and fled on Interstate 25 toward Lakewood, about 8 miles west of Denver.
Just before 6 p.m., McLeod opened fire inside the Lucky 13 tattoo shop in Lakewood. Danny Scofield, 38, was shot and killed, Romero said.
âYou were my brother, a great human being, a great father, son and brother,â a post on the store’s Facebook page said Tuesday, adding that Scofield – known as Dano Blair – and others had been “murdered for no reason.”
McLeod escaped Lakewood Police who spotted him near a Wells Fargo bank, Romero said. Six minutes later, he was seen entering the Hyatt house and opening fire after a brief conversation with Steck.
A Lakewood police officer saw McLeod near the hotel and ordered him to drop his gun. McLeod started shooting, hitting the officer in the abdomen, Romero said.
âShe was able to pull herself together and hit back, hitting him,â Romero said.
“She took a situation that was already horrible and put herself in danger to stop it,” he said.
Romero did not identify the agent, but said she had been a veteran of the force for three years and was wearing a bulletproof vest when she was hit.