GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. - Police say that Robert W. Lewis, a CoBank employee who was recently fired for harassing a 25-year-old colleague, Emily Weikert, is the lone suspect in the Thursday shooting death of Weikert in the parking garage of her Greenwood Village apartment complex.
Police say they believe the 51-year-old Lewis killed himself with a single gunshot to the head after a three-hour standoff with SWAT officers Thursday afternoon at his unit in the Carriage Place Apartments, at 4900 S. Ulster St.
Lewis was found dead just a block away from the Promenade Place Apartments at 5200 S. Ulster, where Weikert was shot to death on a ramp between the third and fourth levels of the parking garage about 7:20 a.m., police said.
Lewis Fired For 'Inappropriate Harassment' of Co-worker
Investigators quickly learned of Lewis and keyed in on him as a possible suspect because he had been fired from CoBank's headquarters in Greenwood Village for "inappropriate harassment" of Weikert, Greenwood Village Police Cmdr. Joe Harvey told 7NEWS Friday.
"The investigation yielded that this person would be somebody we would want to speak to, because he had been terminated for harassment of the victim," Harvey said.
When police went to Lewis' apartment, the man barricaded himself and the standoff began.
Makeshift Memorial For Victim
Friends have created a makeshift memorial for Weikert at the garage where she died. It includes a photo of the young woman, flowers, a lit candle and a sign, stating: "In Our Thoughts."
Police believe it was Weikert who left a short 911 call at 7:21 a.m. Thursday. Yet, because she was apparently being attacked, the woman caller couldn't tell the dispatcher any information, Harvey said. Dispatchers told officers they heard a woman screaming in the background, then the phone hung up.
"There were ... sounds of a struggle or something going on, so the dispatcher was working diligently to try and find out the exact location," Harvey said.
Investigators quickly used their resources to ping the cell phone and locate the apartment complex where the call came from.
Inside the apartment garage, Harvey said, "We found signs of a struggle between the third and fourth floors of the parking structure. Folders and things like that were scattered around the floor. It looks like there were at least two gunshots."
Initially, police were looking for a green Jeep Cherokee that was seen leaving the victim's apartment complex Thursday morning. Officers found the Jeep a couple hours after the shooting, parked near the Belleview Light Rail Station.
Harvey said police learned the Jeep belonged to a friend of Weikert's who had driven away from the apartment "well before" the shooting occurred.
The friend was "the last known person with her prior to this horrible crime occurring," Harvey said.
Investigators located Weikert's male friend after the killing and "he was very, very open and honest with us and willing to do whatever it took to help in the investigation," Harvey said.
Harvey said Weikert never sought a protection order against Lewis after he was fired for harassing her.
Police: CoBank Didn't Contact Authorities About Harassment
CoBank handled the harassment complaint internally and police were not notified, Harvey added.
"From all looks of it, (CoBank) handled it appropriately," Harvey said. "There was some inappropriate harassment, a complaint was filed and they terminated Mr. Lewis."
Until the Thursday attack, Harvey said there was no indication that Lewis posed a violent threat.
Lewis' wife divorced him in 2011, court records show.
Lewis Sentenced for Criminal Trespass In 1996
In 1996, Lewis was cited for felony trespassing of a vehicle and misdemeanor theft in Greenwood Village, according to court records.
The victim, Kenneth Little, was granted a temporary protection order barring Lewis from contacting him.
In the handwritten protection order request, Little stressed some words in all capital letters, stating that it was the second time he had caught Lewis "RED HANDED" stealing valuables from his Jeep. The victim said he regretted not reporting the first theft incident to police.
"I have had other things taken from my vehicle while it was parked at my place of employment and know now that Robert Lewis was the culprit," Little wrote. "I feel this person, Robert Lewis, has a BIG problem with theft and should be sentenced accordingly," Little added.
Lewis was convicted of felony criminal trespass, but an Arapahoe County District judge granted him a deferred judgment. This allowed Lewis to have his record cleared if he performed 30 hours of community service, paid $240 restitution to the victim and had no new violations for two years, according to court records. Lewis successfully completed the deferred judgment in 1999.