SANTA FE • As a child in Santa Fe, Daniel Chamberlain Lehman knew what he wanted to be when he grew up.
A military man. A protector of his country. One who serves a greater cause.
“He cared so deeply about people and about freedom,” his mother, Laurie Lehman, said last week. “He was a West Point type of guy, Army all the way. He was a patriot, and he wanted to serve his country, always.”
Police found the body of Army Capt. Daniel Lehman at the end of a trail of blood near East Costilla Street and South Wahsatch Avenue in Colorado Springs, a couple of blocks from where investigators believe he was shot about 2 a.m. Sept. 15.
Police said they still don’t know who shot him or why, and they’re asking for residents’ help. Lehman was stationed with the 4th Infantry Division’s 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team at Fort Carson.
A man whose body was found early Saturday east of downtown Colorado Springs has been identified as an Army intelligence officer who graduated …
His mother said police only told her he probably was walking home when he was killed, well before officers arrived about 7:15 a.m. that day after receiving a report about a body.
“I don’t have a clue,” Lehman said of her son’s slaying. “Police say they are looking at video cameras and trying everything they can to find out more. They don’t have anything.
“Why would someone do this? Who would do this? I don’t understand. He was a good, sweet boy. Just a boy, really — 28 is still a boy.”
Lehman was born Feb. 6, 1990, in Los Angeles to Laurie Chamberlain Lehman and Daniel George Lehman. The family moved to Santa Fe that year.
He became an honor roll student at St. Michael’s High School and volunteered at libraries and at a retirement home in downtown Santa Fe, serving juice and cookies to residents and engaging in chess games.
When he was only 12, he was selected as one of the Santa Fe New Mexican’s 10 Who Made a Difference in 2002. “I get to do something I like to do and at the same time I get to give something special to someone else,” he told an interviewer that year.
He spent a year in China as an exchange student and came back fluent in Mandarin, his mother said. He also was fluent in Spanish, she said, because he pushed himself to learn the language.
“You’d think he’d be in his room playing video games,” she said, “but he’d be studying Spanish.”
He was determined to do what he wanted to do, she said.
“He’d say, ‘I want to go climb that mountain,’ and then he’d go and climb it. He came to me at 15 and said, ‘I want to be an exchange student.’ … He came back and said he wanted to go to West Point. I said OK, but I made him also apply to the Naval and Air Force academies, too.”
After graduating from St. Michael’s in 2008, Lehman attended the U.S. Military Academy, graduating in 2012 with a double major in nuclear physics and philosophy. He was commissioned that year as a second lieutenant in the Army within the military intelligence branch.
Lehman served in Afghanistan in 2013 and rose through the ranks to become a captain. After a year in Eastern Europe, he was stationed at Fort Carson less than a year ago.
His unit’s commander, Col. Michael J. Simmering, said in a statement, “3rd Brigade Combat Team mourns the loss of Capt. Daniel Lehman and extends our sincerest condolences to his family and friends. He will be sincerely missed by each and every member of our team. Dan will always be remembered as an incredible leader and a fierce friend.”
Lehman, who was single, didn’t tell his mother about his work. “When you go into military intelligence, they teach you to not talk about it,” she said.
She said she tried not to be intrusive and to respect his privacy. “He was a quiet, reserved type of guy. I would have spoken to him every night if I could have. … I adored him.”
Lehman tearfully remembered little moments from his life, such as his fascination with cats when he was a volunteer at Santa Fe’s animal shelter. His love of dogs. His knowledge of algebra, and how he sat and patiently explained its concepts to his younger brother, Jonathan Giles Lehman, who died in 2012 at age 21.
And the day he told her he wanted to learn how to play a musical instrument and chose the trumpet. She suggested he consider various options, but he said, “No, I want a trumpet.” And he learned to play it, she said.
“I miss him. I’ll miss him every day of my life,” Laurie Lehman said. “I’m so very proud of him and everything he did in his life. He had so much to give and so much to offer. It’s so sad. I don’t understand why this happened.”
She said her son will be honored with a private military funeral at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Colorado Springs police ask anyone with information about the shooting to call 444-7000.