The three victims in the Colorado Walmart shooting – in which a 47-year-old man is accused of nonchalantly strolling into the store and gunning people down by the cash register – have now been identified. One of them, Victor Vasquez, leaves behind a pregnant fiance and two small children. Another, Carlos Moreno, was a grandfather who worked in education. Pamela Marques, the third victim, was a mother who worked for a packaging corporation.
The two men and one woman were wantonly slain after police say Scott Ostrem, who was a local man, walked into the store with his hands initially in his pockets, before producing a handgun and shooting the victims near the cash registers at the front of the Walmart Super Store in Thornton, Colorado.
Ostrem then disappeared for 14 hours, but police were able to track him down after receiving a citizen tip, authorities said in a news conference. They are still investigating Ostrem’s motive but said the shootings appear to be a random attack. Review of court records shows that Ostrem, who had worked as sheet metal fabricator, had struggled with severe financial problems in recent years, declaring bankruptcy at one point and beginning two businesses that quickly failed. He was unmarried and a registered Republican who didn’t vote, online records showed.
The many eyewitnesses in the busy store described the chaos that followed once gunfire broke out, with shoppers and employees making a break for exits or trying to find hiding spots. Police pieced together Ostrem’s identity by scouring surveillance video from inside the store. He has a relatively minor criminal history.
The release of the victims’ names and photos shifts the attention from suspect to the human beings whose lives were cut short merely because they decided on November 1 to go to their local Walmart store.
These are the victims in the shooting:
Victor Vasquez, 26
Victor Vasquez was a young father with a pregnant fiancee, according to a GoFundMe site organized to help his family. The site reads: “As many of you have heard, there was a shooting at the Thornton Walmart. One of the fallen was Victor Vasquez, a father of two beautiful little girls with another child on the way. We are starting a go fund me to help out his fiancé, Alexis, his mom Jovita, and his children. It will be used to help fund his services and any immediate needs that the family may encounter.”
Carlos Moreno, 66
Carlos Moreno worked as “a structural trades technician at Auraria Higher Education Center,” reported Fox 31, quoting the center as saying “its employees were shaken up. “Carlos was a good husband, father, grandfather, cousin, friend, man,” one woman who knew him wrote of Moreno. “I am blessed to have had you in my life.”
Moreno’s Facebook page said that he went to Clovis High School, lived in Thornton, Colorado, and was from Clovis, New Mexico. His page is filled with photos of his family. A relative of Moreno’s wrote, “I am in shock. My dear loving uncle Carlos Moreno was one of the victims who lost his life last evening at the Thornton CO Walmart. Please keep his wife and kids in your prayers.”
Another relative wrote: “I really can’t believe your gone ? why do people do this he was the last person to deserve to have his life taken from him I’ll always remember you uncle ???”
Pamela Marques, 52
Pamela Marques was from Denver. She “was transported to an area hospital where she later died, her daughter confirmed,” according to KDVR-TV.
According to The Denver Channel, “Pamela Marques worked for more than two decades for the Packaging Corporation of America.” There is a GoFundMe site for Marques’ family. It reads, “Last night a heartbreaking incident occurred. 3 families have been changed forever by this. Unfortunately my family was one of those. My dear cousin Brandy has lost her light, her best friend her mom. My aunt Pam was one of those hit by a bullet at the Walmart in Thornton. I’m hoping to reach the goal to help ease the financial burden on my cousin. Anything helps from a penny to a share. No one should have to deal with such a heart breaking thing such as this.”