COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Colorado Springs Police Department identified the victims of a Halloween shooting that left three dead and discussed their response to the 911 call that reported the shooter.
A bicyclist was killed Saturday after Noah Harpham shot him, then killed two women on the porch of a sober living home near the 200 block of North Prospect Street, police said in a news release. Harpham died during a shootout with police.
The three victims were identified as Andrew Myers, Christina Baccus-Gallela and Jennifer Vasquez.
Police also clarified their response to the original call for service, which was received at 8:45 a.m. and reported a suspicious male walking into a building carrying gasoline cans and a rifle.
The dispatcher created a call for service of a suspicious person that started as a priority 3 and was upgraded to a priority 2 after speaking with caller for one minute. It was then upgraded to a possible burglary in progress call.
Police clarified that a priority 2 level call describes a situation classified as critical “with potentially dangerous circumstance but no apparent imminent life threat.”
According to the police, the dispatcher stayed on the phone with the caller for more than two minutes and “acknowledged that Colorado is an open carry state but stated we (the police department) would keep the call going because the behavior of the person with the gas cans seemed suspicious.”
At the time, all officers were responding to other calls. The closest officer was responding to a threat to human life, while the Prospect call was still regarded as a threat to property.
Before an officer could be dispatched to the initial call, the reporting party called back to report the man had returned and shot Myers, who was riding a bicycle.
“Some guy was just riding his bike through the alley and the guy started shooting him,” the caller reported, audibly distraught. “He’s laying in the driveway. … Please send somebody here.”
At the time, all available officers citywide and an ambulance were immediately dispatched.
Harpham then walked northbound on Prospect Street then westbound on Platte Avenue, stopping in front of a home on East Platte Avenue and shooting two more victims, Baccus-Gallela and Vasquez.
When police arrived, he was armed with a pistol in one hand and a rifle in the other, and he was ordered by police to drop the guns. He refused and began firing at police. A patrol vehicle was struck in the front windshield.
Four Colorado Springs officers — two in training and two veterans — returned fire. Harpham was struck once with a fatal round.
Police said Harpham was armed with an AR15 rifle, a .357 caliber revolver and a 9mm semi-automatic pistol.
An explanation of the call priorities and a clarification of the open carry law have been posted on the Colorado Springs Police Department website, as well as the 911 calls.
Colorado Springs Police Chief Peter Carey commended the actions of the Emergency Communications Center employees, the responding police, fire, and EMS personnel.
“They disregarded their own safety in order to safe guard the community as great personal risk,” Carey said.
The families of the victims have all set up crowdfunding accounts to help with the funeral expenses.