A 33-year-old man has been named as the crazed gunman who randomly killed three people in broad daylight on Halloween before being fatally shot by police, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports.
Noah Harpham, a Colorado Springs resident, battled addiction and recently authored rambling blogs about his father and religion, the Gazette reports.
The shootings happened Saturday at about 8:45 a.m., Colorado Springs Police said. The gunman was heavily armed as he walked down the street. He shot a bicyclist first, and then killed two women, KKTV reports. He was then chased by responding officers and gunned down in a shootout. Police have been tight-lipped about the case, refusing to provide details or identities of those involved until autopsies are completed.
The gunman is also believed to have set fire to the second floor of the apartment where he lived, according to the Gazette. Harpham had previously lived across the street with his girlfriend, the newspaper reports.
“Knock me over with a feather — that guy was just a nice guy. I liked him,” his landlord told the Gazette, “I couldn’t imagine for a second that he would even have a weapon. But what do I know.”
Neighbors told the Gazette they thought it was a Halloween prank.
Naomi Bettis told the newspaper she called police twice, first to report her that her neighbor was walking around with a rifle, and then after he shot the bicyclist. Bettis said the bicyclist cried out “Don’t shoot me! Don’t shoot me!,” before he was gunned down.
Here’s what you need to know about Noah Harpham and the shootings:
1. He Posted a Rambling Video to YouTube Just Days Before the Video
Harpham posted a rambling video to YouTube on October 29, two days before the shooting (watch it above).
In the one-minute video, with instrumental music playing in the background, Harpham talks about his father, Thomas, and Colorado pastor Bill Johnson, who he says his father is a follower of. Harpham says he challenged his father to review one of Johnson’s sermons, and then explain what it means to him. He says he hasn’t received a reply from him.
Harpham also posted a blog to a recently created website on the same day. It appears to be his response to the pastor’s sermon. The blog is titled, “Is my Dad in a Cult? Even Worse, Is It Satanic?!”
He writes on the blog:
I have no practical business to be reasoning in this area when I consider I am theoretically matching wits against Thomas Harpham, a man who has proudly and with his own wife and 2 children, devoted over a decade of his life in service to the institution of Bethel Church. Bethel Church is a global institution that believes in change through political process, and is headed by Pastor Bill Johnson. Thomas Harpham is a man that has obtained a real life “certificate” in super-natural ministry from this global church. (Ignore the clear mind-control that results from accepting the inherent contradiction in the last statement if your name is Thomas Harpham.)
The October 29 blog post is the only one on the website, called sunwatermovementfoodandsleep.com. His YouTube video is also the only one uploaded to his account.
Harpham was also active on Twitter, linking out to his blog post in the days and hours before the shooting.
Harpham tweeted a link to the blog to Edward Snowden and @ChemicalCircus, from his account, @Block_N_Bard. His profile picture is a photo of libertarian economist Murray Rothbard, along with the words “anti state,” “anti war,” free-market.”
His final tweet, on October 31, just hours before the shooting, was about his account on the adult webcam site Chaturbate:
His account on Chaturbate says his final broadcast was early Saturday morning.
2. His Mother Wrote About His Struggle With Alcohol Addiction in Her BookHarpham’s mother, Heather Kopp, wrote about her son’s battle with alcohol addiction in her book, Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up With a Christian Drunk, which was published in 2013.
He also traveled with his mother after the book was published, supporting her as she spoke about their story.
In 2013, his mother wrote on her blog that her son had been sober for five years:
My grown son Noah joined me on the trip, and I can’t tell you how much it meant to have him with me. As we sat at a gate waiting for a delayed flight and Noah was tracking his fantasy football teams on his phone while eating a huge bag of airport popcorn, I was overcome by joy. Just to have him next to me. Alive. Sober. Just to have him squeeze my shoulder now and then and say, “You’re going to do great, Mom.”
How can this be the same young man who used to smoke pot for breakfast? Who I used to fear would turn out like my father—addicted, depressed, and suicidal? How can I be the same mother who used to drown my worry about Noah’s drugging and drinking by getting drunk myself? Who used to live in dread of being exposed as an alcoholic and would rather die than declare it from a podium?
The only explanation is that Noah and I are walking, talking miracles—living proof of God’s goodness and grace.
This was never so clear to me as it was on Monday as I spoke about the role of faith in my journey of recovery. Noah graciously allowed me to share some parts of his story, too—including how he’d probably be dead if the apartment where he was living when he hit bottom had had a garage. After I spoke, we had a buffet lunch with the Salvation Army folks, and I noticed how easily Noah chatted with people. Several times I overheard someone ask him hopefully, “So do you speak, too?” He laughed and said no. But you know what? He does speak. His life speaks. And nothing speaks louder than the story he can’t help telling just by being who he is today.
3. Two of the Victims Killed in the Shooting Spree Had Recently Turned Their Lives Around
Two of the victims killed in the shooting were had recently turned their lives around, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports. Christy Galella and Jennifer Vasquez were fatally shot outside the sober home where they were living.
According to the Gazette, Harpham, who lived less than a mile from the sober house, attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in the area, but had stopped going there about two months ago.
It’s not known if Harpham knew the women.
The third shooting victim, a bicyclist, has not yet been identified.
4. He Says on a Dating Site ‘I’m Just Shy Around New People in Group Settings’On Noah Harpham’s profile on the dating website eHarmony.com, he says he is 6-foot-5, never married and doesn’t have children. He says he has “some college” education and is Christian.
“That I’m not arrogant or aloof, I’m just shy around new people in large group settings,” he writes. He also says he attends Alcoholics Anonymous and, “hopefully I’ll get the chance to be a sponsor to another alcoholic at some point.”
5. He Was an Insurance Agent With No Major Criminal Record
Harpham was a licensed insurance agent, according to Credio.com. The website says he has one year of experience.
According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, Harpham has no criminal record, except for a 2003 speeding ticket in Oregon.