4 people dead, including shooter as SWAT team is called to Aurora townhouse

Victim escapes carnage to alert police

AURORA, Colo. - Four people are dead including the gunman, inside of an Aurora townhome after a standoff with police.

Police used tear gas to try and get the gunman out of the townhome then went in about 8:30 a.m. and found the gunman dead.

According to Aurora Police Sgt. Cassidee Carlson,  four people were found dead in the townhome.  Three of them are believed to be family members of the gunman.  

The first report of the gunshots came in around 3 a.m., from a person who managed to flee the townhome.  That person told police three people were believed to be dead inside the townhome.  She is believed to be the wife of the gunman.

Officers then surrounded the 16000 block of E. Ithaca Place.  That is near Buckley Road and Hampden Avenue.

A neighbor told 7NEWS she heard police on a bullhorn asking the gunman to come out, telling him his wife was outside. 

"I heard the cops on the intercom say 'Sonny, so-and-so, I have your wife Stephanie with me ...  If you come out with your hands up and come out of the house we won't harm you and we'll get you the help that you need' and around that time I think I heard gunshots," said Shaunna Bustios.

Police said efforts to negotiate with the gunman were not successful.

"He was behaving very irrationally throughout the incident and often hanging up on the negotiators," said Carlson.

Police said they did not hear any shots from inside the townhome until the gunman shot at a SWAT armored vehicle just 8 a.m.  At that point, police reported they could see a lifeless body inside the townhome.

"Shortly before 9 a.m. the suspect appeared in a second story window and engaged officers again with gunfire. Officers returned fire striking the suspect. No officers were injured," said Carlson.  "Officers then entered the residence and confirmed that there were 3 deceased adult victims, 2 males and 1 female. The suspect was also pronounced dead in the upstairs bedroom."

It was not immediately clear if the gunman was killed by police or if he took his own life.

"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."

Police declined to release the name of the suspect or the victims.

7NEWS spoke with a family member who said the victims were the father and sister of the woman who escaped and the boyfriend of the sister. 7NEWS is withholding the names until family members are notified.

The officers who fired their weapons will be placed on paid administrative leave pending an internal review of the incident.   

Detectives and Crime Scene Investigators will remain on scene for the remainder of the day, police said on their Facebook page.

Earlier Evacuations

"We've evacuated several residences in the neighboring townhomes and in the immediate area where we believed would be the most dangerous," Carlson said earlier.

Some of the evacuees were wrapped in blankets as they were taken to the fire station at the intersection of East Hampden Avenue and East Hampden Circle.

Because the suspect was believed to be dangerous, Carlson said the SWAT team used  the "utmost caution." Additionally, neighbors were alerted to the situation through emergency notification telephone calls and several of the nearby homes were evacuated for safety.

Hampden Road was shut down in both directions from Kalispell Street to Laredo Street on Saturday morning, because of police activity..


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Previous Call To Same Address

Police said a shooting incident was reported at the same address in February 2012, a week after the shooting.  Police investigated and issued a summons in the case.  They also confiscated a firearm but can't release the name of the person involved or the original report because of Saturday's incident.

7NEWS checked public records on the suspected gunman and found he did have several previous arrests on weapons charges.