Police in Aurora, Colorado — the same town where James Holmes allegedly killed moviegoers during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises — are still trying to learn why a man shot and killed two men and a woman in his home before police shot and killed and him following a standoff.
The shooter’s name hasn’t been officially released, reports the Denver Post, which said sources identified him as Sonny Archuleta, a freelance artist. Police are calling the shootings “the worst-case scenario.” They were called to the two-story house shortly before 3 a.m. by a woman who escaped by jumping from an upstairs bedroom window.
During a six-hour standoff, the gunman hung up on officers and ignored their pleas for him to come out. There are conflicting reports over whether Archuleta died of self-inflicted wounds or whether SWAT team shooters killed him.
1. Archuleta Had a Peaceful Background
There’s not much in Archuleta’s background to suggest he might start shooting. His LinkedIn account describes him as being a freelance artist with skills in animation, landscape design, concept art and texturing. He attended the University of Colorado between 2007-2010.
2. He Was a Religious Man
He’s also helped run a boutique for infants and toddlers and also worked before that as director of Step Up Inc., a faith-based life-skills workshop and recovery support agency that focused, ironically, on overcoming hopelessness. On LinkedIn, he listed bible studies among his interests, among other topics, and often referred to God in his tweets and updates.
3. His Brother Was Shot and Killed Last Year
Archuleta’s violent death isn’t the first for his family. In September 2011, his brother, Patricio, was shot and killed in west Denver. He’d had a criminal record of drug and assault charges and had been out of prison for three years at that point.
4. His Wife Escaped the Killings, But Her Family Didn’t
The woman who jumped from the window was identified as Archuleta’s wife, Stephanie, who met officers outside. She reported seeing three dead bodies before she escaped. She told police her husband was mentally ill, and police said they’re investigating the possibility he had been using meth.
The names of the victims haven’t been officially released, but neighbors and other sources said they were his father-in-law, Anthony Ticali, his sister-in-law, Stacie Philbrook and her boyfriend.
5. He’d Faced Weapons Charges Recently
Archuleta had criminal charges against him in for weapons offenses, including prohibited use of a gun in 2004 and carrying a concealed weapon in June.
6. His Tweets Also Revealed He Was a Believer
After his brother Patricio was killed, Archuleta tweeted:
‘My brother Pat was murdered in Denver, Colorado on Friday September 3 at 1:45am. Pray for my family and that Jehovah well get the glory from this.’
7. Their Townhouse is Close to Where the Theater Shootings Occurred
The shootings were about four miles southeast of the Aurora Mall, the horrific “Dark Knight” shootings killed 12 people and wounded dozens more during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises on July 20.
8. The Accused Theater Shooter is Due in Court
The man charged in the theater shooting, James Holmes, is to be in court Monday for a preliminary hearing in which prosecutors will present their case against him.
9. Expect a Push in Colorado For Gun Control Laws
The theater shootings already have prompted Gov. John Hickenlooper – just before the Newtown, Conn., massacre – to call for a discussion on gun control, so it should be a heated topic at the Colorado Legislature this year.
10. Aurora is a Large Colorado City
Aurora, located just east of Denver, has more than 335,000 residents.