The gunman who shot and killed five in Denver on Monday night has been identified as a former tattoo shop owner and described by police as someone with a history of extremist views and psychiatric episodes.
Lyndon McLeod, 47, was shot and killed by officers at the end of his rampage across tattoo parlors and other locations in the Mile High City.
McLeod used to own a tattoo business, Flat Black Ink, until 2017, ABC reported. His rampage on Monday targeted several tattoo shops, and three of his five victims worked in the tattoo industry.
Police said they believe McLeod was targeting the people he shot at the tattoo parlors, although they did not release a motive.
Paul Pazen, chief of Denver Police, said on Tuesday that McLeod had been on the radar of law enforcement during two recent investigations – one in 2020 and another in 2021 – but neither resulted in charges.
Lyndon McLeod, who wrote fantasy novels under the name Roman McClay, has been named by police as the man who shot and killed four in Denver on Monday night
McLeod had come on to the radar of police in 2020 and 2021, Denver police chief said, but no charges were ever filed. He did not say why there was concern
McLeod, 47, owned a tattoo parlor in Denver until 2017. He then relocated to a converted shipping container
McLeod lived in a shipping container in the mountains, he told an interviewer while promoting his self-published fantasy novel
McLeod sold his house in Denver around five years ago, according to the new owner
McLeod used his Instagram to promote his book, with skull images
Police said McLeod fired shots at six locations across Denver and the nearby suburb of Lakewood.
His rampage left five people dead and three others wounded – among them a police officer – before he was shot dead.
McLeod sold his house five years ago to a man who said the property was full of gun safes.
‘There were numerous hidden gun safes in the walls of this house,’ said Gabriel Thorn, speaking to KDVR.
‘He just disappeared off the face of the earth when we bought the house. My wife and I joke that he’s changed his name and moved out of the country.’
McLeod then wrote and published a series of books called ‘Sanction’ under the name Roman McClay, KDVR reported, with the main character based on himself, and the narrator being artificial intelligence.
In an interview about the book, he was described as living in a converted storage container, and said the book was about ‘our masculinity and the way we interact,’ looking at religion, genetics and culture.
He described it on Twitter, in an account dormant since June 2020, as: ‘The book that philosophizes with a Jack-Hammer.’
‘I tend to look at the world in threes. I’ll look at the world currently, then the world below it and the world above it,’ he said in a YouTube interview in March 2020, to promote the book.
‘You have the terrestrial plane, then the sub level, then the atmosphere.’
McLeod added: ‘I consider myself an artist first, and then a man interested in ideas and culture second.’
His victims included Alicia Cardenas, 44, the owner of Sol Tribe tattoo shop on Broadway in Denver.
Another deceased victim was identified on Tuesday as Alyssa Gunn Maldonado, 35, who worked with Cardenas alongside her husband, a piercing artist, who was injured in the attack.
A third victim who succumbed to his injuries was named as 38-year-old Danny Scofield, a tattoo artist working at another parlor in Lakewood.
A fourth victim was described as a man, shot in the street, and his fifth victim was a clerk at the Hyatt hotel, Sarah Steck, who died on Tuesday afternoon in hospital.
McLeod, described by witnesses as wearing a trench coat, and being a tall, blonde man – despite being noticeably dark haired in his social media posts – was fatally shot after he opened fire at officers and struck one female officer once in the abdomen.
She returned fire, striking him. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
‘She is in stable condition and doing well,’ said John Romero, spokesman for the Lakewood Police Department.
She was wearing a bulletproof vest.
Romero said the officer ‘probably saved’ lives.
‘We are beyond proud of her actions,’ he said.
Alicia Cardenas, 44, the owner of Sol Tribe tattoo shop on Denver, was named by friends on social media as one of the five people who were killed in Monday’s shooting spree
Alyssa Gunn Maldonado, 35 (right), was shot dead inside Cardenas’ shop. Her husband, Jimmy Maldonado, was said to have suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the chest
Danny Scofield, 38 (right), a tattoo artist at Lucky 13 Tattoo and Piercing in Lakewood, was shot and killed during the rampage
Scofield was the fourth person to be killed in the gunman’s Monday night rampage
‘To see this type of spree take place is not normal in our community,’ Pazen told KDVR.
‘This one individual was responsible for this very violent crime spree that took place this evening.’
According to the police department’s timeline, McLeod’s first stop on his deadly spree was Sol Tribe tattoo shop on Broadway, where he allegedly opened fire shortly after 5pm, killing the owner, Alicia Cardenas.
He wounded one of her associates, piercing artist Jimmy Maldonado, and gunned down the man’s wife, Alyssa Gunn Maldonado, who also worked there.
Ernesto Burbank, a friend of the victims, identified them in a Facebook post, revealing that Jimmy Maldonado was taken to a hospital suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the chest. His condition is unknown at this time.
‘I just don’t understand how so much hate can live in people and how the innocent always pay the price,’ Burbank wrote.
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help with Alyssa’s funeral costs and her husband’s medical expenses.
The couple, who married in February 2020, have a young son.
Jimmy and Alyssa Gunn Maldonado got married in February 2020. They have a son together
Cardenas (left and right) was described as a pillar of Denver’s tattoo community. She is survived by a 12-year-old daughter
Facebook has lit up with messages expressing shock and grief as news of Alicia Cardenas’ killing spread. She was remembered as a pillar of Denver’s artistic community.
‘Wisdom and grace poured from her anytime she chose to speak,’ wrote Armando Lopez, her client.
‘So many artists learned from her in apprenticeship through her masterful work in tattoo, murals, and altars. A Denver native, who’s roots have held this city up through their strength and provision of soulful nutrients. Her voice and words of advice still ring so loudly in my ears.’
Lopez revealed that he had got a tattoo at Cardenas’ parlor just an hour before the shooting.
The 44-year-old tattoo artist and muralist is survived by her 12-year-old daughter, according to her friend Patrick Anderson.
‘She was such a kind and wise person,’ Anderson told DailyMail.com on Tuesday.
‘She hosted an annual Dia de los Muertes event at her tattoo shop and helped people remember loved ones. I like to think that she is now with her ancestors and will come visit us this Dia de los Muertes.’
April Potter identified her brother, Danny Scofield, as the third victim of the shooting spree.
She told KDVR that he was a father-of-three who worked as a tattoo artist at Lucky 13 Tattoo and Piercing on Kipling Street in Lakewood.
‘He was my best friend,’ Potter said through tears. ‘The best person I’ve ever met in my life.’
Officials are asking residents to keep the victims, specifically the officer, in their thoughts and prayers during this tough time.
‘We just ask everyone in our community for their thoughts and prayer for that agent and their family,’ Romero told the Denver Post.
Five people were killed and three injured, including a police officer, in a shooting spree that spread across Colorado on Monday night
Police say McLeod fired shots in six locations across Denver and the nearby suburb of Lakewood
The above map shows where the incidents in Monday night’s killing spree occurred
The shooting spree began around 5pm in Denver near the intersection of East 1st Avenue and Broadway.
Police say McLeod killed two women and injured one man – since identified as Cardenas, Alyssa Gunn Maldonado and Jimmy Maldonado – before fleeing the scene.
Shortly after, McLeod fatally shot another man in the Cheeseman Park neighborhood near 12th Avenue and Williams Street.
He then fired a shot at 6th Avenue and Cherokee Street, as well as 8th Avenue and Zuni Street.
However, police say no injuries were reported at either location.
He was then spotted in his vehicle by police, near 8th Avenue and Zuni Street.
Officers attempted to pull him over when he opened fire, prompting them to shoot back.
McLeod was fatally shot by Lakewood police after he opened fire at officers and struck one in the back. Police say the cop is currently in surgery
Meanwhile, police say the motive behind the ‘killing spree’ remains unknown and an investigation into the incidents is ongoing
‘At this point, we do not believe there is any additional safety concern to the community,’ said Lakewood police spokesperson John Romero (pictured)
A Denver police vehicle was disabled and McLeod fled the scene.
He is believed to then have continued his killing spree in Lakewood.
He was reported in the suburb just before 6pm, firing shots and killing one person – Danny Scofield – at the intersection of Colfax Avenue and Kipling Street.
Soon after, Lakewood officers spotted his vehicle in the Belmar area. Gunfire was exchanged after McLeod shot at police.
He then ran away into a nearby business where he brandished his weapon before entering the Hyatt House hotel where he shot a clerk.
The clerk was taken to an area hospital, where she later died.
Department Chief Paul Pazen (pictured) said ‘this type of spree take place is not normal in our community’ and explained that ‘one individual was responsible for this very violent crime spree that took place this evening’
The suspect was shot and killed. The Jefferson County sheriff’s department is investigating the specifics behind his death
Authorities asked residents to keep the victims, especially the Lakewood officer who was shot, and their families in their thoughts and prayers
McLeod fled the Hyatt and began shooting at officers, injuring one, who then shot back.
Witnesses who were driving in the area told Fox 31 they saw the a police officer confronting the suspect.
‘We seen [sic] the guy: he was a tall man, blond hair, with a trench coat,’ the witnesses told the station.
‘She yelled at him to ‘put his gun down!’
‘She yelled, ‘put your gun down’ and he turned around and, like, pulled up the gun and shot her right in front of us, multiple times.’
McLeod was finally shot and killed at this location.
‘Still unsure exactly if it was by Lakewood police or not but he was then pronounced dead at the scene,’ Romero said.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the specifics behind the gunman’s death.
Pazen, the Denver Police Chief, told reporters police are investigating the motive behind the deadly rampage.
‘We need to really dig and find out what the motivation behind this was,’ Pazen said.
Meanwhile, police say there is no ongoing threat to the community.
‘At this point, we do not believe there is any additional safety concern to the community,’ added Romero.
Of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in 2021, three were in Colorado, including the year’s deadliest.
In addition to the shooting on December 27, there was the Colorado Springs shooting on May 11 that claimed seven dead and the King Soopers shooting in Boulder that killed 10.
The King Soopers shooting is tied for the year’s deadliest with a June 2 shooting in San Jose, Calif., that also left 10 dead.
In all, Colorado saw 13 mass shootings throughout 2021.
Denver reported 6,715 cases of violent crime in 2021, as of October.
The incidents include 95 murders; 1,038 sex offenses; 4,365 cases of aggravated assault; and 1,217 robberies.
The shooting spree was the 10th most lethal of the year nationwide, according to Gun Violence Archive.
Denver reported 6,715 cases of violent crime in 2021, as of October