Two suspects in homicides that happened just days apart last week are in custody, police announced Wednesday.
DeAndre Vonte Smith, 23, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder in the death of Alton J. Kelly, 25, who was gunned down outside of his family home west of Memorial Park on April 12, Colorado Springs police said.
At the time of the killing, Smith was out on $10,000 bond on allegations of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, felony menacing, child abuse and harassment related to a May 2016 offense, court records show. He appeared in court April 10 for a hearing in that case.
Malik Rashod Lee, 19, was arrested in Saturday’s shooting death of local resident Andrew Lawrence Swiatek Jr., 29. Lee, who had been detained as a person of interest, also was accused of possession of a weapon by a previous offender, police said.
Swiatek was found crumpled in the road in the 2200 block of Farnsworth Drive Saturday after a Gazette delivery man reported hearing gunshots in the area. Police later detained a person of interest with the help of a 10-year-old boy who said he heard the shots and saw the aftermath from his living room window.
The boy’s mother, Angela Reid, said her children also saw a man peeking in the window after they turned on a light and ran to wake her. She didn’t recognize the man injured in her driveway, she said.
Now, she wants to move from the neighborhood she previously considered quiet and kid-friendly.
Swiatek, a father of four, grew up in Colorado Springs. He began dating Rachelle Rigdon, the mother of three of his children, while at Coronado High School. They had since broken up, but remained friends, she said.
“He was just such a loving, caring, giving man,” she said. “He wouldn’t have anything to give to anybody, but he would give you his last dollar, the shirt off his back. He was just that kind of man who would help anybody out.”
Swiatek was devoted to his family, including two siblings, four children and nine nieces and nephews, said his older sister, Shannon Rodriguez.
“He loved taking them camping and would take all of the kids to the zoo and barbecue and fishing,” she said.
Neither of them could fathom why he had been slain.
“He would never hurt anybody — that’s what really just gets me,” Rigdon said. “I just don’t understand why somebody would do this to him.”
Kelly was found outside his childhood home at 836½ E. Vermijo Ave. by an older brother Noel King .
Kelly had called his oldest brother, William, in distress just before 3 a.m. on April 12 after getting into “an altercation” at a local club where he was celebrating a friend’s birthday, King said. The call ended mid-conversation, King said.
Minutes later, when William pulled up to the house, he found Kelly in the yard with a gunshot wound to the head, King said. Kelly had two daughters.
Kelly and Swiatek are the city’s 10th and 11th homicides this year, respectively. The first homicide of 2016 was reported on April 15, a year to the day from Swiatek’s shooting. Both remain in the El Paso County jail without bond, inmate records show.
The Gazette’s Rachel Riley contributed to this report.