DENVER — As investigators continue to piece together the Denver-Lakewood killing spree that took the lives of five people on Dec. 27, one couple who says they narrowly escaped the suspect's attempt to kill them is telling their story.
Police say Jeremy Costilow and his girlfriend Chelsea Mathews, like most of the suspect's other victims, were specifically targeted. Costilow once worked with the suspect.
"We're grateful to be alive. We have the Lord to thank for that," Mathews said.
A knock on the door at their 6th Avenue home that Monday evening would be the beginning of a terrifying night.
Mathews asked who it was and the suspect identified himself as a delivery man trying to find Jeremy Costilow, her boyfriend.
Mathews didn't know that the suspect was a former colleague of Costilow's at the time, but she thought the interaction was suspicious and told him Costilow didn't live there. The suspect left, but the couple says he then returned 15 minutes later and began breaking in through the front door.
The couple quickly grabbed their 3-month-old baby, and Costilow's best friend Justin helped him run because he is recovering from a broken leg from a serious motorcycle collision a few months back.
"He was almost in, so then we didn't even look back, and we ran all the way down here [to the stairwell]," Jeremy Costilow said.
The family made their way to the stairwell that led to their tattoo shop and locked the door behind them.
"As soon as I did that 'boom boom,' and then we were just hobbling running over here and about right here ... 'pop pop pop,'" Costilow said, pointing to several bullet holes in the wall that nearly struck them as they fled. "Look how good he was at it. I mean, he knew exactly from another wall how to hit that door if we were there. I mean, that is well thought out and practiced over and over in his head to be able to shoot through a wall."
The couple hid in a room on the other side of the wall, and they fled through the back door when the shooting stopped.
Police say the suspect proceeded to set Costilow's vehicle on fire, during which thousands of dollars of Costilow's work tools burned. The couple has a organized GoFundMe page to raise money for replacing the tools and repairing extensive damage in the home.
In hindsight, Costilow recalled a flyer that was taped to his door a few years ago that advertised the book the suspect had written. Costilow said the book named him as a character that would be killed. Another victim who the suspect killed on Dec. 27 was also named in the book.
Costilow wonders whether an incident like this could have been prevented. He is waiting for the Denver Police to announce whether they were aware of the suspect's book prior to the shootings and whether it was a part of DPD's previous investigations into him.