John Stokes, 56, is being held on suspicion of murder in connection to a fatal shooting on Oct. 7 at a car wash in downtown Colorado Springs, police said. (Photo courtesy of Colorado Springs Police Department)

Police identified a man arrested in connection to Monday’s fatal shooting of a father of four at a car wash in downtown Colorado Springs.

John Stokes, 56, of Colorado Springs was held without bail on suspicion of murder. He is accused of killing Nicholas Anderson, police said in a statement released Wednesday.

A Water Works Car Wash employee said he was helping Stokes pay for cleaning his SUV, when a black Audi slammed on its brakes as it pulled into the car wash at 525 S. Nevada Ave. Anderson, 31, got out of the Audi and approached the SUV, yelling and beating the windows, a police affidavit said.

According to the affidavit, Anderson appeared to climb inside the SUV and punch Stokes, the driver. The employee said they heard a gunshot from inside the vehicle and watched Anderson exit the SUV. Stokes shot Anderson again, the affidavit read, and stood over him on the ground while shooting him about three more times.

Witnesses said Stokes remained at the car wash for almost 10 minutes, asking bystanders if they saw what happened, before he drove away.

Police said they found Anderson’s body in the alley behind the car wash.

As Stokes raced down Rio Grande Street, headed west, he struck a sergeant’s unmarked police car that was traveling north along Nevada Avenue, police said. The officer’s car rolled onto its side and Stokes continued driving.

The uninjured sergeant crawled out of his car, police said. Stokes changed direction, drove back and surrendered to officers at 500 S. Nevada Ave.

A woman and child, who Anderson’s friends later identified as Anderson’s wife and four-year-old step-daughter, were in the Audi at the time and were watching the scene unfold, Jay Vaughn, another employee at the car wash, said.

According to the affidavit, Stokes told detectives that Anderson had “crossed the line and paid the price,” and referred to himself as the “jury.”

Friends described Anderson as a hard-working tattoo artist, who often came to Living Art Tattoo Studio, at 570 S. Academy Blvd., before it opened and stayed after it closed, making sure he could provide for his family. Fellow employees at the tattoo shop called him a “brother” and “mentor.”

Anderson had two sons and a daughter from a previous marriage and a 4-year-old stepdaughter, Thalia, friend Chris Colley said. He married Azure in May, and she is 10 weeks pregnant, he said.

A fundraiser for the family — online at — had raised $2,730 as of Wednesday.

“As anyone who has experienced a loss like this, you know the costs that will be adding up,” read the fundraiser website.

Anderson’s slaying was the 18th homicide in Colorado Springs this year. The city had 26 homicides at this time last year.

Reach Olivia at

Twitter: @oliviaprentzel

Multimedia Journalist

Liz is a multimedia journalist who joined the Gazette staff in 2019.

Load comments