Authorities say four people are dead after a six-hour standoff with police at a townhome in Aurora, Colo.
The episode began about 3 a.m. when shots were heard on East Ithaca Place, about 16 miles southeast of downtown Denver, said Sgt. Cassidee Carlson, a spokeswoman for the Aurora Police Department.
Four people were killed this morning including a gunman who held police at bay for several hours in an Aurora townhome. Aurora SWAT team members shot the gunman after he went to a second-floor window and fired a gun at police.
“None of the officers heard gunshots until they were directed at us at about 8 o’clock,” police spokeswoman Cassidee Carlson said.
The gunman fatally shot two men and a woman, police say.
One woman jumped from an upstairs back window, ran from the home and called police just before 3 a.m., said Cassidee Carlson, Aurora police spokeswoman.
A woman who had escaped from the house told officers that shots had been fired and “that she observed three people inside the home who appeared lifeless as she was leaving,” according to a statement released by the police on Saturday afternoon.
The woman was not injured by the jump or by gunshots. The identities of the victims and the gunmen have not been released.
“We have an idea of who they are, but we obviously want to confirm their identities with the coroner,” said Carlson, who declined to release the relationship between the victims and the shooter, says the USA Today.
The gunman and his three victims, as well as a woman who fled safely from the home at the outset of the violence and alerted authorities, were all believed to be related to one another, commented police spokeswoman Carlson.
The Reuters reports, a hostage-negotiation team called to the scene had sought to talk the suspect into surrendering for about six hours before police moved to shoot tear gas into the home at about 8:00 a.m. (10:00 a.m. EST/1500 GMT), prompting the gunman to open fire on officers from inside, police said.
Officers entering the townhouse found the bodies of the gunman and three other people – two men and a woman – who were presumed to have been shot hours earlier before police were called to the scene.
At 3 a.m., police sent out emergency notifications to residents living near the townhome. One neighbor, Sunil Pawar, 59, said he received a reverse 911 call advising him to stay inside and away from windows before police later showed up to ring doorbells and escort residents of the townhouse development to safety.
In July, 12 people were killed and 58 wounded in a shooting at an Aurora movie theater during midnight screening of the Batman sequel “The Dark Knight Rises.” The gunman, wearing what the police described as ballistic gear, used an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun and a handgun in the shooting, the police said.
James Eagan Holmes, 24, was arrested outside the theater and has been charged in the killings. Prosecutors are scheduled to present their case against Mr. Holmes at a preliminary hearing on Monday that is expected to be attended by many of the survivors and family members of those who died.