In the course of about a half-hour Saturday morning, a shooting spree erupted east of downtown Colorado Springs and four people were dead after a gunman moved through a residential neighborhood before a deadly shootout with police officers near a restaurant about a half-mile away.
The first reports of a shooting came about 8:45 a.m. as Colorado Springs police were called to the 200 block of Prospect Street after multiple calls about gunshots, El Paso County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Jacqueline Kirby and Colorado Springs police spokeswoman Lt. Catherine Buckley said.
Authorities said the shooter was killed after opening fire on police officers.
The gunman reportedly had more than one weapon, but Kirby said it was not known if that was the case. Buckley said she did not know how many officers responded to the scene, but that some on the afternoon shift had to be called in early to help out.
Neither the victims nor the gunman have been identified.
An unspecified number of officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, police said.
Matt Abshire, 21, who lives in an apartment building at East Platte Avenue and North Prospect, said he heard a commotion outside while in the kitchen of his upstairs apartment just before 9 a.m. He said he looked outside and saw a man shoot another with a rifle, and he quickly went outside and followed the armed man around the corner. Abshire continued to pursue the shooter west on Platte while calling police on his cellphone.
Abshire said the shooter made it west of El Paso Street, then turned to his left and fired more shots. Abshire said a pair of females were shot, and one had stopped breathing by the time he approached her. Abshire said it appeared the female had been shot in the face. He said he took her pulse and did not feel a heartbeat.
"She was dead," he said, noting that he then continued to follow the armed man toward Platte and Wahsatch avenues.
That's when he saw the shootout between the man and police near a Wendy's restaurant.
The shooter was gunned down by Colorado Springs police after he apparently turned and began firing at officers. A witness who lives across Wahsatch said police yelled at the man to put down his weapon before officers returned fire. Shortly before noon, a pile of the suspected shooter's belongings sat in front of the restaurant.
Ryan White, 24, Abshire's roommate, awoke to the sound of gunfire and went outside.
"I woke up to three gunshots, and then I saw my friend coming up the street with blood on his hands," White said.
Aaron Nicks, who said he lives on the east side of Wahsatch, told reporters that he was taking his dog out around 9 a.m. when he saw police shoot the suspect. Nicks said police fired several times before the man fell to the ground. Police quickly attended to the suspect and loaded him into a vehicle, Nicks said.
The victim on Prospect lay motionless next to a bicycle for hours as police investigated, witnesses said.
The Colorado Springs Fire Department responded to a report of a gunshot victim about 8:45 a.m. at 230 N. Prospect, where firefighters also extinguished a small fire. Fire Department spokesman Capt. Steve Oswald said he thought the gunshot victim was related to the shots-fired report.
Betty Barker, who lives on the 200 block of Prospect, said she heard the gunshots from her living room.
"It was really the loudest gunshots I've ever heard," she said. "I'll never forget it."
Law enforcement officials investigated multiple crime scenes into the evening, and roads were closed into the late evening. Police escorted residents of Prospect until it was reopened about 9:45 p.m. The intersection at Wahsatch and Platte was reopened about 5:30 p.m.
"It's just a bad day," Barker said. "I don't know what else to call it."
The Sheriff's Office took over the part of Saturday's investigation that involved the police officers involved in the shooting. CSPD is handling the rest of the investigation, Kirby said.
The Sheriff's Office has asked that anyone in the area of Platte and Wahsatch who may have had damage to their home or vehicle related to the shootings between 8:30 and 9 a.m. Saturday call 390-5555.