By Keith Coffman
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Reuters) -A man shot six people to death, including his girlfriend, before fatally shooting himself at a birthday party in Colorado Springs, Colorado, early on Sunday, sparing the children present inside a trailer at a mobile home park, officials said.
“The suspect, a boyfriend of one of the female victims, drove to the residence, walked inside and began shooting people at the party before taking his own life,” said a statement released by the Colorado Springs Police Department.
Police arrived to find six people dead plus a seventh who was seriously wounded and died after being taken to a hospital, the statement said.
“Friends, family, and children were gathered inside the trailer to celebrate when the shooting occurred,” according to the statement.
A motive has yet to be determined.
The massacre about 70 miles (110 km) south of Denver is the latest in a resurgence of mass shootings in the United States after such occurrences seemed to recede during the height of coronavirus pandemic restrictions.
Among the incidents this year was one in Boulder, Colorado, where a 21-year-old man has been charged with killing 10 people in a March 22 shooting spree at a supermarket about 30 miles (50 km) northwest of Denver. That came less than a week after another 21-year-old gunman was accused of killing eight people at three Atlanta-area day spas.
Colorado was also the state where two other deadly rampages took place, both in the Denver area: the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School that killed 15 people including the two perpetrators, and the 2012 shooting in an Aurora movie theater that killed 12 people and wounded about 70. The Aurora shooter is serving a life sentence.
The recent shootings have revived the gun control debate, with Democratic President Joe Biden calling them a “national embarrassment” and calling for new legislation from Congress.
But he faces an uphill battle in the face of opposition by gun rights advocates including Republicans and some Democrats who cite the U.S. Constitution’s protection of gun ownership rights.
Colorado Springs Police Chief Vince Niski said that “my heart breaks for the families” in Sunday’s attack and promised to support them.
“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,” Niski said in the police statement.
‘FAMILIES TORN APART’
Police said they withheld releasing details of the shooting for several hours “in order to properly and respectfully notify family members of the deceased and ensure support was in place.”
The names of the victims will be released later, the statement said.
The shooting happened within the Canterbury Manufactured Home Community, a mobile home park of some 470 trailers on the southeast side of town, near the Colorado Springs airport.
Police blocked off the area, where a mobile crime lab was parked near the home. A small group of adults stood nearby, some of them audibly sobbing, along with a small child.
It took place as Americans observed Mother’s Day on Sunday, “celebrating the women in our lives,” Colorado Governor Jared Polis said in a statement.
“Multiple lives were taken today by this terrible act of violence. Families torn apart, and at a birthday party no less,” Polis said.