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Colorado Springs gunman wrote rambling blog 2 days before shooting spree

November 1, 2015 Updated: November 2, 2015 at 12:02 pm
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The rear window of a Colorado Springs Police car is shattered by gun fire in front of the Wendy's restaurant on Wahsatch Avenue in Colorado Springs as police investigate the one of the scenes from a shooting rampage that left three victims dead Saturday morning, Oct. 31, 2015, in Colorado Springs. The shooting began on Prospect Street near Platte Avenue and ended at Wahsatch and Platte avenues where police exchanged gun fire, killing the suspected shooter. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

The man who neighbors say shot three people in Colorado Springs on Saturday made a rambling post to a brand-new blog two days earlier that railed against his father, religion and government.

Noah Harpham, whose blog begins with the address where Saturday's shooting started, rages against a California mega-church pastor.

"Welcome to mind control," Harpham wrote.

In Colorado Springs, Harpham, 33, lived modestly in a series of apartments and worked in insurance.

On the online dating site eHarmony.com, Harpham described himself as a recovering alcoholic and a Christian.

The 6-foot-5 Harpham called himself "a big friendly giant."

Harpham's struggles with substance abuse were documented by his mother, Heather Kopp, in her book "Sober mercies: How love caught up with a Christian Drunk."

When her son quit drinking and sought help through Alcoholics Anonymous in 2007, his mother thought "It's quite possible there's a miracle afoot."

Kopp didn't return phone calls Sunday.

Neighbors say Harpham lived quietly at 230 N. Prospect St.

A licensed insurance agent, his only recorded brush with the law was a 2003 speeding ticket in Oregon.

The lone tenant inside the Prospect Street house, he had lived there for a few months, and prior to that lived in a house across the street with his girlfriend, the owner of the property said. The landlord didn't want his name used.

"Knock me over with a feather - that guy was just a nice guy. I liked him," the landlord said. "I couldn't imagine for a second that he would even have a weapon. But what do I know."

Inside, he recalled seeing cases of mineral water - but no alcohol or signs of drug use.

Saturday morning, neighbors say they watched Harpham go into the square-framed building with a military-style rifle and a can of gasoline.

Harpham came back out with a rifle and a pistol, neighbor Matt Abshire said. He gunned down the first person he encountered, Abshire said: a bicyclist on Prospect Street who died on a curb where flowers now lay.

On Thursday, Harpham started his blog and posted a cryptic 1-minute video to YouTube. Pacing his apartment and talking, Harpham says he sent his father, Thomas Harpham, a critique of a sermon by Redding, Calif. non-denominational Christan pastor Bill Johnson, whose 8,000-member Bethel Church teaches congregants to believe in "supernatural revival."

Harpham appears to be agitated that his father, who he said was a follower of Johnson's teachings, hadn't responded. "I've been waiting, waiting and waiting," the pacing Harpham says into the camera.

Harpham's Thursday blog post is entitled "Is my Dad in a Cult, and even worse is it Satanic?"

In his 2013 profile on the dating site, Harpham also discusses his libertarian views.

"I'm not arrogant or aloof," he wrote. "I'm just shy around new people in large group settings."

One of the shooting sites Saturday was a house owned by the Alano Recovery Program, which helps people recover from substance abuse.

Two people died at the organization's house at 543 E. Platte Ave.

Harpham on the dating site said he wanted to use his struggle with substance abuse to help others.

"Hopefully, I'll get the chance to a sponsor to another alcoholic at some point," he said describing the peer mentor approach used by Alcoholics Anonymous.

Sunday night during a vigil near the home, several members of Alcoholics Anonymous gathered.

They said Harpham until recently attended AA meetings regularly and had known people at the Platte House. It's unclear if he knew the women who died there.

"In the last two months, he dropped out of the program," said one man, who didn't want his name used because anonymity is a requirement in the group.

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Gazette reporter Jakob Rodgers contributed to this report.

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