DENVER — A gunman who killed three people in Colorado Springs before dying during a shootout with police was a former alcoholic who wrote online about religion, his family and “mind control,” the Colorado Springs Gazette reported Monday.
Authorities have released little information about the rampage Saturday morning pending completion of autopsies and notification of the relatives, but they named the shooter as a 33-year-old local man, Noah Harpham.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said he fired multiple rounds at police responding to a shots-fired call, and that the officers returned fire. He was pronounced dead at the hospital, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
Citing the late shooter’s neighbors, the Gazette said Harpham was a licensed insurance agent who lived alone, and said he described himself on an online dating site as a Christian and a recovering alcoholic.
The newspaper said Harpham had written a “rambling” post on a new blog just two days before the shooting in which he railed against his father, religion and government.
“Welcome to mind control,” he wrote, the paper said.
The Gazette reported that Harpham’s mother wrote about his battle with alcoholism in a book, and that his only recorded brush with the law had been a 2003 speeding ticket in Oregon.
Citing neighbors in the quiet street near downtown Colorado Springs where Harpham lived, the paper said he emerged from his home armed with a military-style rifle and pistol before shooting a passing cyclist who died at the scene.
He then fatally shot two women at a house owned by a recovery program for substance abusers, the paper said. It cited one program member as saying Harpham had attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings there, but dropped out about two months ago.
Police radio communications published online by the Denver Post newspaper on Monday captured the moments after the shots-fired call came in and officers began searching for a tall male suspect wearing a backpack, a black hat and green jacket.
“Shots fired! My cruiser is shot at!” one officer can be heard telling dispatch on the recording. Asked if he is wounded, the officer replies, “No … just a little shaken up.”
Harpham was down within seven minutes of officers being dispatched to the area, according to the radio traffic.