BROOMFIELD, Colo. - A man accused of shooting and killing a Broomfield auto repair shop employee told police he had planned the shooting for at least a year and had also intended to kill himself and a Lakewood motel employee, according to an arrest affidavit.
Lawrence Raymond Crouch, 62, was arrested in connection with the Friday shooting death of 56-year-old Mary McGrath at her workplace, East of Sweden, a Saab repair shop.
Crouch is being held without bond on suspicion of first-degree murder involving deliberation at the Broomfield County Jail.
According to the Broomfield Enterprise, the arrest affidavit said Crouch told police he wanted to kill McGrath because she was "a drunk, a shrew and a thief" who took advantage of Bob Wisdom, the owner of East of Sweden.
Crouch, McGrath and Wisdom had been roommates in Broomfield for several years, the affidavit said.
But after Crouch lost money in a rental property scam on the Internet, he left Broomfield a year ago to live in a Lakewood extended-stay motel, the newspaper reported.
People who knew McGrath described her as kind and friendly.
"She was a low-key lady who was great with customers. She didn't have a mean bone in her body," Pam Janssen, who owns Carquest Auto Parts with husband, told the Enterprise.
Crouch meticulously planned the killing, the affidavit said.
Crouch told police he cleaned up his motel room on Friday morning, packed two handguns and left a letter detailing his planned attacks, the newspaper reported.
Crouch said he chose Friday as the day to kill McGrath, the motel employee and himself because he was broke and had nothing left to lose, affidavit said. He described the act of killing McGrath as "stress relief," the Enterprise reported.
Crouch said he planned to first kill the employee at the Lakewood motel where he was staying because the employee's accounting practices were "horrible," the Enterprise reported, citing the affidavit. He was going to throw a makeshift bomb made of soap and gin behind the motel's front counter, then set fire to the motel.
But that part of the plan fell apart when the motel employee wasn't at work that day. So Crouch worked out at a nearby gym and then drove to Broomfield, the newspaper reported.
Crouch arrived at East of Sweden around 2 p.m., where he chatted with his former roommate -- Wisdom, the shop's owner. The two men had known each other 20 years, but they hadn't seen each other for about a year, the affidavit said.
When Wisdom stepped out of the building momentarily, Crouch pulled a .45 caliber handgun from a small bag and shot McGrath five times in the chest, the affidavit said.
Despite his planned suicide, Crouch told police Wisdom ran back into the business after hearing the shots and Crouch said he could not shoot himself in front of Wisdom, the Enterprise said.
So Crouch handed the gun to Wisdom and asked him to call 911, the newspaper reported. He then sat down and waited for police to come to arrest him.