Shawn Kilker had brutalized his mother & wife before Tuesday's murder-suicide, court records say

Kilker was wanted for kidnapping, beating wife

WELD COUNTY, Colo. - There were chilling warnings that Shawn David Kilker was violent, unstable and might kill his family members before he and his son died in an apparent murder-suicide early Tuesday morning.

In 2006, the Keenesburg man tortured and threatened his own mother -- holding a gun to her head, choking her with a lamp cord and twisting her fingers, vowing to break them -- after his mother said, "She was not going to bring his children home because she was afraid for their safety," according to court records obtained by 7NEWS.

Then on Friday, Kilker's wife of 18 years obtained a protection order against him. She said he had kidnapped her, dragged her across a field, grabbed her by the ears and banged her head on the ground.

"He said he will never let me leave and said he will hurt my kids and other family if I try to leave," Denise Kilker wrote in court records.

Early Tuesday morning, sheriff's officials say Kilker delivered on his violent threats after an overnight standoff with SWAT officers.

Investigators suspect the 42-year-old Kilker shot and killed his 14-year-old son, Keith, and then took his own life at their Keenesburg home at 455 E. Kiser Ave., said Steve Reams of the Weld County Sheriff's Office. The coroner has scheduled an autopsy for Tuesday.  

“The boy was a friend of mine,” said longtime family friend Don Enroughty. “Fourteen years old.  He did a lot of work for us at my house.  He was a good boy.”

Enroughty told 7NEWS that troubles in the Kilker family started brewing more than a month ago.

“She wanted a divorce,” he said. “He threatened to take out her family and do all this horrible stuff in front of her just to make her feel pain.”

Enroughty said Denise told him and his wife that Shawn kidnapped her, beat her up and dragged her through a field about a month ago.

“He told her he was going to kill everybody she loved if she didn’t behave and be a good wife,” Enroughty said. “Later on, he took her to Estes Park for their anniversary and wanted (intimacy) and she told him, ‘No, you’re a wife beater.’ All he could think to say was, ‘Oh, you’re going to keep bringing that up?’”

Enroughty said Shawn texted Denise last week with the message, “If you don’t contact me, it’s going to get a lot worse.”

An arrest warrant was issued for Kilker in the alleged kidnapping and assault. Denise had moved out of the family's home and had taken refuge at a relative's house.

Sheriff's investigators went to the Kilkers' home on Sunday to look for Shawn and to execute a search warrant.

Deputies again were looking for him in the area around 5 p.m. Monday when Shawn, apparently returning from a camping trip with his son and three others, drove up to his home in his black Dodge pickup, Reams said.

A SWAT team was deployed to the home about 9:30 p.m.

The SWAT team was able to get two males and one female out of the home before Kilker barricaded himself inside with his 14-year-old son, Keith.

Weld County negotiators were in constant contact with the juvenile inside the home, and pleaded for him to leave the home, sheriff's officials said. The boy refused to leave the house and told negotiators that he was there on his own accord.

When the pair stopped communicating sometime overnight, the SWAT team deployed a camera into the home and saw two bodies on the floor.  The SWAT team entered the house at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday and found the father and son dead.

“Thank God (they) got the daughter out,” Enroughty said. “Keith was too young to die. I can’t imagine looking at my son and pulling the trigger and killing him, over what? Spite!”

Neighbors told 7NEWS they heard four to five gunshots.

In the protection order, Denise Kilker said her husband had issued an escalating series of threats. On July 30, during a confrontation at the family's home, Shawn Kilker "told the kids he brought them into this world [and] he will take them out," the wife wrote in court records.

On July 30, Denise Kilker had had enough. She'd reported the June 28 attack to the Weld County Sheriff's Office. On Saturday, the arrest warrant was issued accusing Shawn Kilker of kidnapping, assault, felony menacing, false imprisonment and criminal trespass.

The sheriff's office posted a wanted flier for Shawn Kilker on its Most Wanted Facebook page. The flier said he had been seen in the area of the Tomahawk Truck Stop in Brighton at 6 p.m. Friday and he was "most likely traveling with a 14 year old male and a 20 year old male."  Sheriff's officials said he was last seen driving a black 2003 Dodge 2500 pickup with a 4-wheel Arctic Cat Prowler in the truck bed.

The pickup truck and trailer were parked outside the scene of the murder-suicide Tuesday.

Shawn Kilker does not appear to have faced serious consequences for his past violence.

Back in 2006, when he terrorized his mother, choked her with the lamp cord and held gun to her head saying, "I'm going to kill you if you don't tell me where my children are, he arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon, felony menacing and criminal mischief. He pleaded guilty to menacing and prosecutors dismissed the other charges.

He was sentenced to four years of probation with no jail time, court records state.

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