2 Women Shot Dead in Colorado Gun Rampage Had Just Turned Their Lives Around
Three innocent people were killed when a man who was reportedly armed with a rifle and a handgun marched calmly down a Colorado street and opened fire on Saturday morning.
Two of the victims, Jennifer Vasquez and Christy Galella, were in recovery when they were shot dead while chatting on the porch of a Colorado Springs sober living house.
A vigil was held Sunday evening for the women--who were both mothers fighting hard to turn their lives around--as well as for an as yet unidentified male cyclist left face down on the sidewalk by the killer.
Loved ones at the vigil shared memories of the victims and testified to the amazing turnarounds Galella and Vasquez were making in their lives after choosing to walk away from substance use.
Omar Martinez, a family friend of Vasquez, created a fundraiser for the murdered mother. On the page, he writes:
"We have lost a loved one a mother a friend and aunt an all around great person we need help to send her off to God the correct way please humble your heart and help us to give her the send off that she deserves."
A similar fundraiser was created for Galella. Both of them aim to help offset funeral costs.
Their killer, idenitified by acquaintances as 33-year-old Noah Harpham, had reportedly struggled with alcohol himself, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.
Harpham, who'd spent time in Alcoholics Anonymous, reportedly knew people who lived in Platte House, where Vasquez and Galella were slain. However, it remained unclear if there was any connection with the shooting.
In a rambling blog post, which he wrote two days before police say he set fire to his home prior to killing three people and ultimately dying in a hail of police fire, Harpham appeared to pick apart a sermon given by a minister his father follows.
In his eHarmony dating profile, Harpham described himself as a Christian and recovering alcoholic, the Gazette reports.
Harpham's struggle with alcohol was even documented by his mother in her own memoir of recovery "Sober mercies: How love caught up with a Christian Drunk."
Police in Colorado Springs first responded to reports of a gunman at 8:45 a.m. and arrived to the scene to find the male cyclist shot dead and sprawled out near his bike.
Witnesses told KKTV the shooter had just gone on a shooting rampage when they caught up to him and took him down in a hail of gunfire outside a Wendy's as residents of the picturesque town looked on in horror.
After the initial shooting, the gunman took off running and, witnesses said, soon began shooting at anyone in his way.
One witness described the weapon as an AR-15, a type of semi-automatic rifle. He also reportedly carried a handgun.
When police caught up to the gunman, an exchange of fire ensued.
The suspect was fatally wounded. It was not clear how many, if any, were injured during the chaotic episode.
No officers were injured during the shooting.