Denver, CO

Inside the 47-minute Denver shooting rampage that left 5 dead

Sara B. Hansen

By Sara B. Hansen / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) A shooter dressed in tactical gear targeted and shot victims at two tattoo shops, an apartment complex, and a hotel during an hour-long rampage that spanned Denver and Lakewood before dying in a shootout with a Lakewood police officer.

The shooter killed five people during that violent hour and injured two, including the Lakewood officer.

Although investigators are still working to determine a motive, police said Lyndon James Mcleod, 47, knew his victims and, in one case, fatally shot a clerk at a hotel where he held a grudge.

At a Tuesday news conference, Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said Mcleod was "on the radar of law enforcement," but investigations in 2020 and early 2021 didn't lead to criminal charges. Those investigations "will be part of this ongoing investigation into this violent crime spree," Pazen said.

Releasing any additional details "would not be responsible for us," Pazen said.

Matt Clark, Denver police major crimes division commander, and John Romero, Lakewood police information officer, provided a detailed timeline of the shooter's actions during the rampage.

Rampage timeline

5:25 p.m.: Sol Tribe Tattoo and Piercing in Denver

The gunman fired his first shots at Sol Tribe Tattoo and Piercing at ​​56 Broadway in Denver, killing shop owner Alicia Cardenas and Alyssa Gunn Maldonado. Jimmy Maldonado, a Sol Tribe piercer and Gunn Maldonado's husband, was injured and escaped. He remains hospitalized in critical condition but is expected to survive. All three were identified to The Denver Post by family and friends.

5:31 p.m.: 6th Avenue and Bannock in Denver

The shooter forced his way into a residence connected to a business. Although he fired shots, no one was hurt. The shooter set fire to a van in the alley.

5:45 p.m.: One Cheesman Place, 1201 N. Williams St. in Denver

The Denver Post reports McLeod wore tactical gear with a police logo and badge and demanded the lobby security guard escort him to a floor in the 19-story building. The shooter then forced his way into the unit and shot and killed Michael Swinyard. The security guard fled and called 911. The gunman returned to the lobby, where he fired his gun to exit through a secured door.

5:49 p.m.: 8th and Zuni in Denver

A Denver police officer in an unmarked police vehicle spotted the suspect in a black 2004 Ford Econoline van and began pursuit. The officer blocked the shooter in a dead-end and exchanged gunfire with Mcleod. The officer was unhurt, but gunfire disabled his vehicle. The shooter then drove around the police vehicle, got on Interstate 25, and drove to Lakewood.

5:58 p.m.: Lucky Thirteen Tattoo, 1550 Kipling St. in Lakewood

The shooter entered the tattoo shop and shot and killed Danny Scofield. According to a surveillance video from a neighboring liquor store, the shooter is in the building for about 10 seconds.

6:04 p.m.: Wells Fargo Bank, 310 Teller St. in Belmar district

Lakewood police officers confront McLeod outside the bank. He started shooting, and they returned fire. He escaped.

6:10 p.m: Hyatt House 7310 W Alaska Drive in Belmar district

Mcleod entered the hotel and briefly conversed with desk clerk Sarah Steck before shooting her several times. Steck later died at a hospital.

6:12 p.m.: West Alaska Drive and South Vance Street in Belmar district

A Lakewood police officer ordered Mcleod to drop his weapon. He fired, striking her once in the abdomen. She then shot him, and he was declared dead at the scene. She remains hospitalized and is expected to survive. Lakewood police have not released her name.

"I can't overemphasize enough the heroic actions of our Lakewood police agent," Romero said. "In the face of being shot, in the face of danger, she was able to not only save others from this terrible tragedy but also neutralize the threat."

History of guns and violent thoughts

Gabriel Thorn bought a home in 2016 from Mcleod, who then "disappeared off the face of the earth," The Denver Gazette reports.

The home had gun safes inside the walls. Law enforcement raided it about a month after Thorn moved in because police were looking for a suspected marijuana growing operation that Mcleod operated out of the garage.

"There were a few strange things here when we moved in, notably hidden gun safes in the walls and some animal skulls in the garage," Thorn told The Denver Gazette. "He didn't disconnect his internet or cable and we couldn't get in touch with him for any of it. We still get his mail."

McLeod also published a book trilogy between 2018 and 2020 under the pen name Roman McClay, the Gazette reported. The main character goes on a six-month killing rampage, killing 46 people who wronged him.

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Sara is the Denver news manager for NewsBreak. She's held editing roles at The Denver Post, The Des Moines Register, and The Fort Collins Coloradoan.

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