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Family recalls victim in Colorado Springs shooting spree as 'loving'

November 6, 2015 Updated: November 7, 2015 at 7:14 am
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photo - Dozens of neighbors and residents from the community surrounding Saturday's shooting attend an evening candlelight vigil on Shocks Run Trail overlooking East Platte Avenue in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Sunday, November 1, 2015. Photo by Daniel Owen.
Dozens of neighbors and residents from the community surrounding Saturday's shooting attend an evening candlelight vigil on Shocks Run Trail overlooking East Platte Avenue in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Sunday, November 1, 2015. Photo by Daniel Owen. 

Christy Galella wanted little more than to follow in the footsteps of her grandmother - a hairstylist of 40 years.

Until Halloween morning, that dream appeared within sight.

Galella, 34, was among the three people killed in an Oct. 31 shooting spree that spanned a half-mile across downtown Colorado Springs.

For her family, the rampage has meant planning two memorial services in the last month. Galella's grandmother - the woman for whom she modeled her blossoming hairstyling career after - also died in October. 

"It's hard," said her father, John Galella. "We're not doing the best ... it's very emotional."

Galella's relatives on Friday recalled her as a loving a mother of two children, a 12-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son.

Born in the San Diego suburb of Poway, Christy Galella was known as a vivacious child who took to softball while growing up in Southern California.

Two years ago, she moved to Colorado to be closer to her mother - a change that allowed Galella to study to become a hairstylist. Her grandmother made a career of it for decades, and Christy Galella always seemed to have a knack for it.

"She would have been so wonderful at it," said Rita Nicholas, her aunt. "She was doing super well."

A few weeks ago, Galella began staying at the Platte House, a home for women recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. There, she found a strong support system and "everything was going great for her," John Galella said.

Everything changed Saturday morning.

A gunman walking down Platte Avenue fatally shot Galella and Jennifer Vasquez, 42, at the home.

One of them died halfway outside the front door. The other was gunned down near a bench on the front porch, according to a search warrant of the house off Platte Avenue, near El Paso Street.

Also shot in the half-mile rampage was Andrew Alan Myers, 35, a bicyclist who passed by the gunman minutes earlier on nearby Prospect Street.

The rampage ended when Noah Harpham, 33, died in a shootout with Colorado Springs police near a Wendy's restaurant at Wahsatch and Platte avenues.

The question of what sparked the shooting spree remained unclear Friday.

Shortly after the rampage, Colorado Springs police investigators saw no immediate link between the shooter and the two women, the search warrant said.

The clues uncovered after detectives went inside the Platte House have not been announced.

Internet postings have since surfaced showing Harpham joined Alcoholics Anonymous in 2007. His mother detailed Harpham's addiction in her book "Sober mercies: How love caught up with a Christian Drunk."

But Galella's relatives said she did not know Harpham - leaving them to plan a memorial service without knowing the answer to one question: Why?

For now, they only have memories.

"She was a very loving, giving human being," John Galella said.

"She was beautiful."

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