Fire Weather Warning issued May 25 at 11:49AM MDT expiring May 26 at 10:00PM MDT in effect for: Archuleta, Dolores, Hinsdale, La Plata, Montezuma, San Juan
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Fire Weather Watch issued May 24 at 4:55PM MDT expiring May 26 at 9:00PM MDT in effect for: Delta, Eagle, Garfield, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Mesa, Montrose, Ouray, Pitkin, San Miguel
LOVELAND, Colo. – Authorities from northern Colorado and the FBI announced Thursday that the man arrested in connection to the 2015 shooting death of William Connole and a motorcyclist in June 2015 in Loveland is not believed to be connected to a host of other shootings that happened in the area that year.
Christopher Parker, 35, was taken into custody without incident on Tuesday on suspicion of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder charges, Larimer County Captain Bob Coleman confirmed at the Thursday morning news conference.
He also confirmed that authorities and prosecutors believe that in addition to killing Connole, Parker is responsible for shooting a motorcyclist just 15 minutes earlier on June 3, 2015. Connole was shot and killed while standing at a Loveland intersection.
But the authorities – which included representatives from a task force formed to investigate the cases made up of Loveland, Windsor, Larimer County officers and the FBI, among others – said there was “no evidence to suggest,” nor information to believe that Parker was responsible for four other shootings that happened between April and September of that year.
They said the shootings of Connole and the motorcyclist were linked by forensic evidence but were not linked to the other shootings.
Records obtained by Denver7 show a Loveland bank chain obtained a permanent protection order against Parker last year after he made threats against one of the locations. One of the requests showed that police said Parker had an "arsenal" of weapons at his home.
On April 22, 2015, Milliken resident Cori Romero was shot in the neck while driving on Interstate 25 near Harmony Road. She survived her injuries. About a month later on May 18 of that year, John Jacoby, 48, was gunned down while riding his bike north of Windsor on County Road 15, just south of County Road 72.
Authorities also said Thursday that the shootings of Romero and Jacoby were linked by forensic evidence, but not to the other shootings.
On Sunday, September 13 two buildings were hit by gunfire in Fort Collins. In shooting No. 5, the Banner Fort Collins Medical Center on Lady Moon Drive reported that its building was struck by gunfire. There were people inside, but no one was hurt. Shooting No. 6 happened at Cottonwood Plains Elementary School on Turman Drive. No one was at the school at the time and no one was hurt.
“All four cases remain open and unsolved,” Coleman said at Thursday’s news conference.
"These two shooting were linked by forensic evidence, but have not been linked to any other shootings being investigated by the Task Force," a news release from the task force said.
The officials said that the arrest of Parker marked an “important point” in the case since prosecutors were able to bring charges against him, but they implored people to keep working to help identify the person or people responsible for the other shootings.
“The best thing we can do for the Connole family and other families is to work diligently behind the scenes,” Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith said about the other cases.
Connole's younger sister, Mary Connole, spoke with Denver7 after the news conference and thanked authorities for their hard work in the case, which led to Parker's arrest.
"Let's hope that this guy that they found is the guy, and I think the integrity of this investigation has been so tremendous that I still am very hopeful that justice is being done," she said. "This gentleman is a suspect and we need to let the system continue to do its job and keep in mind the Jacobys and all the victims that have been affected by these murders, including this guy's mother."
The authorities asked anyone with information about any of the cases to email email@example.com or call 970-498-5595 with information. The FBI is also offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the shootings.
This is a developing news story and will be updated with more information.