Victoria Scott can't help but glance to her right.

As she steps out of her old Victorian house and walks down the steps into the tree-shaded yard, she looks in the direction where Noah Harpham marched last Halloween on a killing spree.

The mental and emotional scars inflicted that day reverberate in the lives of the people who watched it unfold and who grappled with its lasting trauma. Three people - including two women living with Scott in a Platte Avenue sober-living home - were killed. Moments later, police fatally shot Harpham, 33, near a downtown Wendy's.

The wounds are often revealed in quiet moments.

"Every time I would pass anybody," Scott said, "I would be watching their hands. Because I wanted to make sure there wasn't anything in someone's hands that was going to hurt me.

"I can't explain it - that's just what my brain was doing."

Her story, and those of the people affected that day, speak to the consequences and the pain for those left to grieve the dead.


Noah Harpham lived alone at 230 N. Prospect.

-4th Judicial District Attorney's Office investigative report

Harpham - long an introverted and reclusive man - found sobriety in recent years with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous and his mother, herself a recovering alcoholic.

But something had changed more recently.

Off his bipolar medication and no longer seeing his doctor, Harpham's mania increasingly fed a sense of euphoria. His mother, Heather Kopp, even warned his ex-girlfriend that he had "escalated to a new level."

A year later, Kopp said she still mourns and prays for the people killed and their families, and agonizes over their deaths.

"Of course, we can never completely understand their pain, but we are so sorry, and we extend our deepest sympathies to them," Kopp told The Gazette in a recent email.

She also is left lamenting: What if?

"We wished there was a number to call, an official mental health professional, who would talk to us about Noah and his situation and possibly try to intervene," Kopp told The Gazette.

Harpham's brother and stepfather tried visiting him in person - boarding separate planes on Halloween morning with the goal of having him hospitalized.


At 8:30 a.m., Harpham was seen by a different neighbor, Naomi Bettis, carrying a long gun and what appeared to be gas cans.

- DA's investigative report

Ten minutes before the first person died on Oct. 31, 2015, Bettis called Colorado Springs police about an armed man across the street. A dispatcher said the man wasn't doing anything illegal, because Colorado's law allows for openly carrying guns. No officers responded.

She now resents that law - and the fact that a year later, it remains on the books.

"We realize that the police aren't going to do anything if you call them," Bettis said.

She doesn't go out much anymore. She hesitates walking onto her front yard to water it. She hates leaving the house, period.

"Somebody else might be walking down with a gun," she said.

Last year's shooting happened as she was leaving her house to visit her foster mother, who died that morning. The following day, Bettis attended her aunt's funeral.

That collective grief, and the sight of that gunman, led her to seek therapy. The anniversary has only reopened those wounds.

"We don't want to go through it mentally anymore," she said.


The bicyclist saw Harpham with the long gun and told him he could not have that type of weapon on the street. Harpham raised his gun and started shooting...

- DA's investigative report

Tina Myers planned an extravagant funeral for her ex-husband - one with military honors, the playing of taps and a 21-gun salute. Their boys, now ages 14 and 12, each received a folded American flag and those spent shell casings.

She wanted it that way because Andrew Alan Myers, 35, died alone.

The Myers divorced about three years ago, around the time Andrew was stationed at Fort Carson. She moved back home to Ohio and he left the Army, where he worked as a helicopter fueler.

That was when Andrew Myers "kind of just fell off the grid."

She finally learned his whereabouts with word of his death.

"It's still kind of hard to believe that happened," Tina Myers, 33, said. "If I talk about it, it's almost like I'm telling a story, not like it's something that actually happened."

The rest of the year flew off script.

Her 14-year-old child, an A-average student since kindergarten, suddenly struggled, and he needed a tutor to help recover. The younger boy's grades slipped, too.

Tina Myers made framed collages of their father, which hang in each boy's room. And on Monday, neither of them will go to school.

They will travel to Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery and stare at the marble marker where Myers now rests.


Harpham continued on Platte and encountered the residents at 543 East Platte Avenue. Harpham shot his rifle six times thus killing two women who were out on the porch enjoying the morning.

- DA's investigative report

Christy Galella-Baccus found redemption in 24 days.

She wrestled for years with a prescription painkiller addiction that ultimately landed her in jail for theft. Her struggle typified a nationwide crisis of people hooked to powerful narcotic painkillers, often after undergoing surgery.

But October 2015 was a time to start fresh.

She went straight from jail to the Alano House organization and its sober living home for women off Platte Avenue, east of Wahsatch Avenue.

There, she began mending ties with her family. And she forged bonds with other women fighting addiction.

"We saw her develop into this amazing woman," said Galella-Baccus' mother, Vanessa Rich, 53. But her rebirth at the Alano House lasted just three weeks.

Galella-Baccus, 34, and Jennifer Vasquez, 42, died at the house that morning.

Rich found solace the ensuing year visiting her daughter's children in California, where they live with their father. She traveled elsewhere, too, welcoming the distraction.

Certain days ached more than others. Some days, she was unable to move.

"Her birthday, I just wanted to lay in the doorway, where she lost her life and those last breaths," Rich said.

Earlier, Rich was a proud defender of Second Amendment gun rights. Now, she questions why people would need AR-15s, and she wishes there were better mental health checks for people purchasing firearms.

For Vasquez's ex-husband, the past year brought confusion.

The two divorced as her methamphetamine addiction worsened, and they stopped talking for at least a year.

A chance encounter at 7-Eleven a week before the shooting, however, changed that. They talked for two hours, taking turns weeping, he said.

He asked her to seek rehab.

She said she was - just up the street at the Alano House.

"She was actually trying to do something," David Martinez, 51, said. "And then this all happened, and that really threw me for a loop."

He has since focused on helping her children, ages 27 and 20. He reconnected with them and recently helped finance an apartment for the two.

"She just can't get over the fact that she lost her mom." Martinez said, of his youngest daughter.


Harpham continued west, raising up his long gun as a CSPD cruiser goes by headed east... The entire shooting episode occurred in less than 10 seconds.

- DA's investigative report

Six Colorado Springs police officers confronted Harpham along his bloody march.

Two held their fire after spotting a man walking his dog nearby. Harpham exploited that moment of caution by firing at least one round through a cruiser's windshield.

Two veteran officers and two trainees arrived moments later, using their vehicles as shields and unleashing a fusillade.

One bullet hit Harpham.

On his body were three guns, all legally purchased here in 2009.

Officers counted 18 shots from his weapon of choice, an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle. His pistol and revolver went unused.

"It was just a madman who went loose that day," Vanessa Rich said.


Harpham's stepfather arrived in Colorado Springs in the evening of October 31, 2015, several hours after the shootings.

-DA's investigative report

Just like last year, Halloween decorations dot the house where Vasquez and Galella-Baccus died.

It's a house Victoria Scott, 43, still calls home.

Last Halloween, she heard some bumps reverberating in the 120-year-old Victorian house and quickly dismissed them as the sounds of a typical day's ruckus.

But the booms never stopped. Curious, she checked the front door and saw Galella-Baccus dead on the floor and Vasquez shot on the porch.

"She was passing right in front of my eyes and there wasn't anything I could do," Scott said, weeping.

She later learned that one high-caliber shot from Harpham's AR-15 went through Vasquez, through a staircase, through a kitchen wall, through a second wall and into the back of the house. The "woulda, coulda, shoulda" thoughts - What if more women hadn't left earlier that day? Did Harpham have plans to come in the house? - were maddening.

"How many more people would have died?" Scott said. "It took time just to get all of that just to shut up. And I've had to tell myself that 'Shut up brain.'"

Recovering from a methamphetamine addiction, Scott found herself and fellow housemates teetering on the precipice, the Halloween-morning trauma threatening to push them into relapse.

Some did. Others fought through it and stayed clean.

Scott recalled never feeling the lure of addiction.

Rather, she chose to acknowledge the grief and allow it in.

She moved back into the house three days after the shooting, adamant that she wouldn't leave.

"It was my home," Scott said. "It's where I started turning my life around."

She made a shrine of six candles and pictures of the slain women inside the front door.

The surrounding community and fellow members of Alcoholics Anonymous pitched in, she said, bringing food, cigarettes, ibuprofen, shampoos, toothpaste, blankets and air mattresses. At Christmas, they filled the house with presents.

"We didn't have to worry about anything," Scott said. "They had the living room filled up with gifts for all of us to give us some peace."

The approach was indicative of the Alano House's renewed focus on addressing traumatic experiences head-on as a key means of fighting addiction.

The organization recently beefed up its counseling services, including adding one therapy that uses eye movement to help process trauma.

Usually, trauma feeds addiction, so treating them in tandem makes sense, said Jessie Spiers, the organization's new executive director.

"The more you let it work through your body, the better it is," Spiers said.

"It becomes slightly less of a huge reaction in your body every time it happens - every time you allow it in your body and acknowledge it."

For Scott, the nervous habits have nearly stopped. She's on anti-anxiety medication. She takes classes at Pikes Peak Community College, and she works for the Alano House as head house manager.

Speaking out about the trauma she and others in the home faced helps her heal, Scott said.

"We can prevail."


Gazette reporter Kaitlin Durbin contributed to this report.

Contact Jakob Rodgers: 476-1654


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