A 20-year-old aspiring race car driver in Colorado was fatally stabbed by a teenage boy who had a “death list,” police said.
Makayla Grote, of Longmont, was stabbed at least twice by the 15-year-old suspect inside her apartment complex. The boy was arrested by police hours later, but hasn’t yet identified by authorities because he’s a juvenile. Prosecutors say they’re reviewing evidence to see if they will charge him as an adult.
Grote was a successful amateur driver in the Colorado racing scene been and has been remembered by friends and family members as always having a smile on her face.
Here’s what you need to know about Grote and the stabbing incident:
1. A Neighbor Discovered Grote With Multiple Stab Wounds & Made Contact With the Suspect
Police in Longmont responded to an emergency call at 6:12 p.m. local time November 18 and arrived on scene at The Shores at McIntosh Lake a few minutes later. A neighbor had discovered Grote laying on the ground with multiple stab wounds.
In an interview with the Times Call, neighbor Michael Brown said he was doing the dishes in his apartment when he heard loud sounds outside. When he looked around, he said he noticed Grote laying on the bottom of the stairs unresponsive. She didn’t respond to him, so he turned her over and he saw the results of the stabbing.
“I saw there were multiple stab wounds in her chest,” he told the newspaper. “I started to apply pressure and yelled for someone to call 911.”
Brown is a Navy veteran, and said he went back to grab his phone and dial 911 himself. That’s when he said that he saw the suspect, who was dressed in black motorcycle gear with a helmet and was wielding a knife. He instinctively ran back inside his apartment to protect his son and grabbed his gun. When he went back to Grote, the man was gone and he held her hand as medical personnel arrived on scene.
“I tried to help her, my first instinct was to help,” he told the Times Call.
Grote was transported to Longmont United Hospital, where she later died.
2. Prosecutors Say the Teenage Suspect Had a ‘Death List’
Seven hours after responding to the scene, police arrested a 15-year-old boy from Lakewood and held him on suspicion of first-degree murder. Police accuse the boy of using a hunting knife to kill Grote, and it was revealed in a court hearing in Boulder County on November 20 that he had a “death list.”
Prosecutors say that the first name on the list was Grote’s younger sister, but subsequent notes located in his bedroom indicated that anybody at the home would be “fair game,” Fox 8 News reported. The arrest affidavit said that the suspect knocked on Grote’s apartment door at around 11 a.m. Saturday asking for a jump for his car. He allegedly returned a few hours later and forced himself inside the apartment.
Once inside, police say the suspect made contact with Grote, whose sister was showering a the time. The younger sister managed to escape any harm by locking her self inside of a bedroom in the apartment. But as Grote tried to flee, police say the suspect stabber her once in the head and once in the chest.
The suspect was known to the Grote family, police said, and he was previously arrested for assaulting his grandfather. In addition to that, police say his mother once called 911 on him and responding officers located Molotov cocktails in the home.
District Attorney Stan Garnett said his office is still reviewing evidence and specifics in the case, noting that they haven’t yet made the determination if they will charge the suspect as an adult. The boy waived his first court appearance and was denied bond pending his next hearing.
3. Grote Was a Successful Competitive Driver & Had Hopes of Making It a Career
Grote was a 2016 graduate of Green Mountain High School, a letter sent by the school to parents and students said. Principal Colleen Owens said that counseling staff was made available to any staff members or students who needed support.
“I am feeling deep sadness and frustration, and I’m sure many of you have similar feelings,” Owens wrote. “It’s important right now to support each other, show we care for one another, and work together to get through this.”
Grote was a race car driver with the goal of one day driving in NASCAR races. She was well known in the racing community in Colorado and had her own race team, Makayla Grote Racing. She could often be seen in her No. 97 stock car racing around the track.
The description on her racing team’s Facebook page says she started racing go karts when she was 8-years old for the Colorado Junior Karting Club in Highland Ranch, Colorado. After a successful career racing the go karts, she got her first stock car, and she started racing it competitively in 2013 when she was 15. The next year, she got a late model car and then bought a super stock car. She had big plans for 2017, the description on the page said.
“For 2017 our goal is to race the Super Stock for the championship and the Late Model for rookie of the year,” she wrote. “We also hope to debut our Pro Truck for the 2017 season. We can’t thank the support of the fans and the best crew ever with Eric Meisner, Russ and Brian Lantzy, my parents and brother and sister.”
The Colorado National Speedway issued a statement following the news of her death, saying she “practically grew up” working on cars and racing with the some of the best.
Read the race track’s full statement below:
Makayla discovered her passion for racing while competing in Go Karts at a very young age, but truly began to blossom in her sport when she entered the Pure Stock Division at CNS. Never was there a better ambassador for her sport, as Makayla was proof that anyone can achieve their dreams with hard work and dedication. If you wanted to find Makayla on a Saturday night, look no further than the Hot Pits at CNS, where she could always be found competing in her own race car, helping a fellow race car with theirs, or standing behind a video camera when she couldn’t get her hands dirty on a car. Behind the wheel of the car she built (and re-built) with her family, Makayla was respected by her fellow drivers and consistently placed in the top ten in both the Pure Stock and Super Stock Divisions. In late 2017, Makayla made the jump to the Grand American Modified Division, and was looking forward to building upon her experience at an advanced level.
Off of the track, Makayla was a humble and generous soul who gave without any thought of herself. Her kind and tender heart was worn on her sleeve, and despite balancing both a full time schedule of college courses and racing, Makayla still made time to volunteer in her community and organize special events for children in need. Her smile was infectious and blindingly bright, and even among her competitors and rivals, she was known for her compassion. The Sportsman of the Year award is generally given only to those in the racing community who demonstrate the very finest moral fiber in every aspect of the Sport. Such was her character that Makayla won it twice in her short racing career.
The racing community is more than just a network of people who can’t wait to turn left. We are a family. Today, our family grieves as we mourn the loss of a Daughter any family would be proud to call their own. Makayla Grote was loved deeply, and will be missed.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Grote Family at this difficult time. A GoFundMe page has been established in Makayla’s name, and donations are greatly appreciated.
4. Friends, Colleagues, Family Members & the Community Has Been Left to Grieve Her Death
Since Grote was identified as the victim in the stabbing, many friends and family members have weighed in on the type of person she was. Her boyfriend of nearly three years wrote a touching tribute to her via Facebook.
“Makayla was always the one to comfort people, always the one to take care of everybody else,” Noah Malik wrote. “She never took anything for granted, and she always tried her hardest to be successful in every aspect of her life. She loved making people smile, most of all.”
Malik wrote that aside from racing, Grote had interests in business, science, theater and art. It her dream of racing a car for a living didn’t work out, she wanted to be an interior designer.
Grote also played on the Green Mountain softball team and was involved in theater. One of her former teammates, Alana Schneider, told Times Call that she was always smiling and having a good time.
“She was very quiet and innocent, but once you got to know her she was always laughing and having fun,” Schneider told the newspaper. “She was definitely a team player, all about being team captain and having everybody coming together.”
Grote worked as a cashier at Buffalo Wild Wings in Longmont and was attending Aims Community College in Greeley, where she studied computer aided drafting and design, her Facebook profile indicated.
In the days that followed her death, flowers and candles could be seen on the second-floor stairwell where she was found by her neighbor.
5. A GoFundMe Campaign Raised Over $11,000 in 1 Day
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to raise money for Grote’s family. It was created by friend Curtis Heldenbrand, who wrote that her family was in need of the public’s help.
“The Grote family will be faced with a lot of challenges in the next couple weeks and I’m hoping we can all pitch it to help them out during this horrible time,” he wrote. “Please keep Makayla and her entire family in your thoughts and prayers. May you rest in peace #1 and until we race again God Speed.”
In one day, the campaign raised over $11,000 toward its eventual $15,000 goal. Friends and family haven’t been the only ones to contribute, as donations have come in from all around the world. Many left tributes to Grote with their contributions to the campaign.
“My heart and soul goes out to the Grote family as they mourn the loss of their daughter and sister,” Dora Rabih Griffin wrote. “May you find comfort in knowing how much she was loved and how many lives she touched! Fly high baby girl!!!”
To donate to the cause, click here.