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4 dead after police standoff at Aurora, Colo., townhome

12:35 PM, Jan 5, 2013   |    comments
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By Kelly Sommariva and Raquel Villanueva

AURORA, Colo. - Three people were discovered dead inside a home following a barricade situation Saturday morning.

Police entering the home shot and killed the gunman after hours of failed negotiation attempts.

Police Sgt. Cassidee Carlson says the suspect was shot and killed when he exchanged fire with officers. The suspect fired on police at about 8:15 a.m.; he was killed when police stormed the home about 45 minutes later. The three victims - all adults - appeared to have been killed earlier.

At 3 a.m., Aurora Police sent out emergency notifications for residents near the 16000 block of East Ithaca Place. Several nearby homes were evacuated for safety reasons.

A woman inside the home was able to escape by jumping out a second-story window and alert authorities.

The names and ages of the victims and of the suspect were not released, but police said they all appeared to be adults.

"We have an idea of who they are, but we obviously want to confirm their identities with the coroner," said Carlson, who declined to release the relationship between the victims and the shooter.

Officers evacuated neighbors' homes during the standoff and used a bullhorn to communicate with the gunman, urging him to surrender.

"After we arrived on scene, there were no more shots fired up until he fired at us," Carlson said. "During this time he was all over the house. He moved furniture. He was throwing things. He was agitated. He was irrational."

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A motive for the killings also was unknown.

"We're just getting in there with our crime scene detectives, so obviously we'll have to determine if it was our rounds or his rounds," Carlson said. "This is a big investigation, and a lot is entailed."

Roads in the area were closed to traffic. A large front window was missing in the modest two-story townhome, the window's mini-blinds in disarray. Bullet holes marked two upstairs windows. Neighbors milled about outside.

Violence put Aurora in the national spotlight in July after a gunman's bloody rampage inside a movie theater in the Denver suburb left 12 people dead and dozens wounded. That shooting took place at the Aurora Mall, about four miles southeast of the townhome.

Prosecutors will go to court Monday to outline their case against the suspect in the July 20 attack, James Holmes, a 24-year-old University of Colorado graduate school dropout. Holmes faces 166 charges of murder, attempted murder and other charges stemming from the July 20 shootings.

Contributing: Associated Press, Gary Strauss


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