BUENA VISTA, Colo. - A close friend of the woman killed by her estranged husband at the Alliance Center on Tuesday says the victim called her Monday and “gave fair warning that (Mickey Russell) was unstable.”
“She was concerned that he was angry and upset,” Jill Van Deel told Denver7.
Russell was upset about his wife filing for divorce back April, which records obtained by Denver7 show.
Van Deel, the Airport Manager in Buena Vista, said she issued a “no trespass” order for Mr. Russell based on the phone call she received from Cara Russell.
She said she wanted to make sure that Mickey didn’t have access to an airplane in case he was thinking of lashing out at someone.
“I felt it was a possibility that might happen,” Van Deel said, “being as he was a pilot and flight instructor and given his mental state at the time. I felt that was the best decision I could make.”
Van Deel said Cara was very upbeat during the phone call.
“She was excited about her new job. It was a perfect fit for her. She loved the downtown area. She loved the people she worked with,” Van Deel said.
Van Deel told Denver7 that Mr. Russell had started two aviation businesses in Buena Vista, Sky Ark and Russell Aviation.
She said he was a good pilot and good instructor, but he struggled to make the businesses a success.
She said he struggled professionally and personally.
Those struggles apparently took their toll.
“At one point, the TSA even came to town and wanted to make sure he wasn’t flight instructing anymore,” she said. “So that was just another thing that went wrong for him.”
Cara Russell spent four years as Mayor of Buena Vista.
She filed a federal lawsuit against the town after town trustees sought to remove her from office because she disagreed with them on a ballot issue involving a proposed annexation. Both sides settled the suit.
Current Town Administrator Brandy Reitter said Cara was a "dedicated public servant."
"She was really enthusiastic and excited about Buena Vista and the growth that has been occurring," she said. "(Her death) is a tragedy for the community. It's a tragedy for her family and friends."