US: Gunman storms birthday party in Colorado, killing six people
A man has fatally shot six people, including his girlfriend, before turning the gun on himself at a birthday party in Colorado, authorities in the US state said.
Police arrived at the scene in the city of Colorado Springs to find six people dead plus a seventh who was seriously wounded and died after being taken to a hospital on Sunday, a police statement said.
While children were present at the birthday party, which took place in a mobile home, they were not harmed.
“The suspect, a boyfriend of one of the female victims, drove to the residence, walked inside and began shooting people at the party before taking his own life,” said the statement released by the Colorado Springs Police Department.
“Friends, family, and children were gathered inside the trailer to celebrate when the shooting occurred,” the statement said.
A motive has yet to be determined.
The shooting happened at the Canterbury Manufactured Home Community, a mobile home park of some 470 trailers about 110km (70 miles) south of Denver.
Police blocked off the area, where a mobile crime lab was parked near the home. A small group of adults stood nearby, some of them audibly sobbing, along with a small child.
Freddie Marquez, 33, said his mother-in-law was one of the victims and that he had been at the party but left around 10:30pm on Saturday.
Sometime after midnight, he received a call from the son of one of the women at the party, who was crying on the phone.
“Somebody came in and shot everybody,” Marquez told Reuters news agency, relating what he had been told on the phone.
The Denver Post quoted neighbour Yenifer Reyes as saying she was awakened by the sound of gunfire.
“I thought it was a thunderstorm. Then I started hearing sirens,” Reyes told the newspaper.
She said she saw police take children out of the trailer and put them into a squad car.
“They were crying hysterically,” Reyes said.
Series of mass shootings
Police on Sunday had yet to release the identities of the shooter or victims.
“My heart breaks for the families who have lost someone they love and for the children who have lost their parents,” Colorado Springs Police Chief Vince Niski said in a statement.
Governor Jared Polis noted the attack happened on Mother’s Day in the US, “as many of us are spending the day celebrating the women in our lives who have made us the people we are today”.
It was Colorado’s worst mass shooting since a gunman killed 10 people at a Boulder supermarket on March 22, and is the latest in a series of mass shootings in the US.
The Boulder attack came less than a week after a 21-year-old gunman was accused of fatally shooting eight people at three Atlanta-area day spas in the state of Georgia.
Colorado has seen at least two other prominent deadly rampages that shook the nation: the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School that killed 15 people including the two perpetrators, and the 2012 shooting in an Aurora movie theatre that killed 12 people and wounded about 70. The Aurora shooter is serving a life sentence.
The recent shootings have revived the gun control debate, with Democratic President Joe Biden calling them a “national embarrassment” and calling for new legislation from Congress.
But he faces serious opposition from gun rights advocates including Republicans and some Democrats.