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Colorado Springs high school student identified as juvenile killed in second overnight triple shooting

October 29, 2017 Updated: October 30, 2017 at 8:36 am
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photo - A photo of Nate Czajkowski sits amongst candles during a vigil. The vigil was held on Sunday night for the teen who was shot and killed near the Albertacos Mexican Food. A large crowd of mostly teens who were friends of the teen sobbed for their friend and his senseless death.  Photo by Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette
A photo of Nate Czajkowski sits amongst candles during a vigil. The vigil was held on Sunday night for the teen who was shot and killed near the Albertacos Mexican Food. A large crowd of mostly teens who were friends of the teen sobbed for their friend and his senseless death. Photo by Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette 

A juvenile male was shot and killed and two were wounded early Sunday outside a 24-hour Mexican restaurant in northeast Colorado Springs hours after a triple shooting at a house party three miles away, police said.

Police have not identified the boy, but Diane Michele Keegan-Czajkowski posted on Facebook that her son, Nathaniel Czajkowski, had been killed in the shooting.

"Just know that my son was not in a gang and didn't deal drugs," she wrote. "The shooting appears to be a random act of violence."

Friends who attended a vigil for Nathaniel on Sunday night said he had attended Doherty until this fall when he transferred to Coronado High School.

A Doherty High School senior, who asked not to be identified, said Nathaniel had been at the party where two males and a female were shot and severely injured around midnight before going to the Albertacos, 4494 Austin Bluffs Parkway, about 3 a.m.

No arrests have been announced in either shooting. Police have not said if they believe the two are connected.

The two other boys with Nathaniel remain hospitalized with gunshot wounds, one in critical and stable condition and the other in serious and stable condition.

On a Facebook page, Nathaniel describes himself as a 15-year-old hip-hop artist who goes by the stage name Nate Winters from Portsmouth, N.H., living in Colorado Springs.

Colorado Springs School District 11 spokeswoman Devra Ashby said Nate Winters does not attend a D-11 school but declined to comment on Nate Czajkowski, directing questions about him to the police.

The Doherty student said Nathaniel was a "really talented rapper" and the type of person that was always there for other people.

"He was so nice and kind. I don't know why anyone would do this," she said.

Under the name Winters, Nathaniel released an album on SoundCloud and Spotify in 2016 called "Trinity."

Sunday midmorning, police detectives marked bullet casings scattered throughout the Albertacos parking lot. The restaurant was closed, encircled in yellow crime-scene tape, although its neon sign in the window continued to flash open.

The front of the restaurant was punctured with at least 11 bullet holes, from which arrowlike trajectory markers protruded.

In a parking area between Albertacos and Big O Tires, investigators had placed markers next to a cellphone and a 4-foot long camouflage strap.

The Doherty senior also had been at the Halloween costume party in the 3800 block of Soft Breeze Way thrown by a Coronado High School student where the earlier triple shooting took place.

Police said two males and one female were taken to local hospitals with gunshot wounds. Two were in critical and stable condition, while the other was in serious and stable condition, according to police, who did not identify the victims.

About 100 people were at the party, dancing, drinking, smoking marijuana, just "having a good time," she said.

She and her friends were sitting on a couch talking when five people wearing Halloween masks said to them, "Y'all need to go somewhere, something is about to happen, and you need to be safe."

She heard gunshots shortly afterward, and everyone started to run.

"Then I saw someone on the ground," she said. "It all happened so fast, and there were so many people in the house that you couldn't see anything that was going on."

Nathan Nied, a junior at Coronado High School, who also was at the party, said he heard a fight broke out in the front yard. He tried to squeeze through the sea of bodies but never reached the front door.

He said he heard gunshots, ran toward the back of the house and climbed on the roof to see what was going on.

"When I saw the body on the ground, I got off the roof, ran to the backyard, climbed the fence and ran to a field nearby," Nied said, adding that he did not see the shooter. "Everyone was running and screaming."

His friend, Coronado sophomore Angelous Romero, said he thinks he saw one of the men who got shot earlier that night, and that he appeared to be in his early to mid-20s.

Nied and Romero said most of the people there were high school age, but other people at the party seemed older, in their 20s or 30s.

"A lot of people were acting hard, really gangster," Nied said. "If someone bumped into them, they would shove them out of the way."

Neither thought the shooting at the party or at the restaurant later was gang-related, however.

Sunday morning's shootings come just over a month after a teenager was shot twice in a parking lot near Doherty High School a block away from Albertacos and less than two weeks after four shootings in a 24-hour span in Colorado Springs.

The Doherty student shot in September is recovering from his wounds. Two 16-year-old males have been arrested, and a third juvenile is being sought as a person of interest in the shooting.

No one was killed and no arrests have been announced in the four overnight shootings Oct. 18 and 19.

"There has been a lot of shootings going on the Springs-area recently," the Doherty senior said. "I can't help but wonder if some of these, the one outside Doherty High School, are connected."

Doherty and Coronado high schools sent a message to parents Sunday saying the school had been receiving inquiries about the shootings, and whether they were connected to the schools. "Because of the possibility of any connection to our school, we are putting the proper security and mental health measures in place so we can help keep all our students safe," the message said.

Editors note: A previous version of this story stated that the victim was a student at Doherty High School. Friends at a vigil Sunday night said he attended Doherty until transferring to Coronado High School this fall. 

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