A man who opened fire at a birthday party at a home in Colorado Springs, Colorado, killing his girlfriend and five of her family members before killing himself, was upset that he was not invited to the gathering, police said Tuesday.
The suspect, identified as 28-year-old Teodoro Macias, had a history of controlling and jealous behavior toward his girlfriend, identified as Sandra Ibarra-Perez, 28, whom he had been dating for about a year. The other victims were identified as Sandra's brother Jose Ibarra, 26, her sister Mayra Ibarra de Perez, 33, Mayra's husband, Melvin Perez, 30, Melvin's mother, Joana Cruz, 52, and another of Joana's children, Jose Gutierrez, 21.
"At the core of this horrendous act is domestic violence," Colorado Springs Police Chief Vince Niski told reporters during a press conference. "No family should ever have to experience this type of loss."
The Colorado Springs Police Department received two 911 calls about the shooting at 12:18 a.m. Sunday, including one that came from a phone inside the residence at the Canterbury mobile home park, and a third at 12:22 a.m. from an adult who had escaped the gunfire. Three children, ages 2, 5, and 11, were also inside the home at the time, but they were not injured.
Lt. Joe Frabbiele said the suspect did not have a criminal history and that investigators have not learned so far of any unreported physical violence between him and his girlfriend. He said the suspect's controlling behavior over Ibarra-Perez was most evident in his attempts to "isolate her from her family" and "prevent her from attending family events."
He added that while police are still investigating the circumstances leading up to this incident, they have learned that the suspect and the family had some kind of conflict at another gathering a week before the shooting.
On Sunday, Macias arrived at the home alone and shot all six victims "in quick succession" before shooting himself, Fabbierle said. A loaded semiautomatic handgun was recovered underneath his body, along with 17 shell casings and an empty 15-round magazine.
Frabbiele said the firearm was purchased at a local gun store in 2014 by someone else. Investigators are working to interview the original gun purchaser and determine how and when Macias obtained the firearm.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers called the shooting a "terrible tragedy," saying that it was "a stark reminder how lethal domestic violence incidents can be." On average, 57 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner in the US every month, according to research from Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization aimed at reducing gun violence. The report says over half of the mass shootings in the last decade involved a current or former partner or a family member of the shooter.
"What we have here is a situation where all these people were together. He apparently had anger directed at the adults and his partner, and the tragic consequences are unfathomable," Suthers said.