msnbc.com news services
updated 7/28/2011 5:27:30 AM ET 2011-07-28T09:27:30

Police were racing for clues early Thursday after three separate shootings in Colorado Springs left at least four dead, two wounded and at least one suspect on the lam, local media reported.

Police said on Twitter late Wednesday night that they had gone to "Priority One" status and were taking only priority calls, the Denver Post reported.

In the first incident, one person was killed and one wounded at an AutoZone store in the eastern part of the city, police told The Colorado Springs Gazette.

The suspect in that shooting remains at large after briefly holding a woman hostage, The Gazette reported.

"I'm really shook up," a woman, who declined to be identified, told the Gazette. She told the newspaper that her daughter was in the store at the time of the incident, but was OK.

"I said 'Oh God, don’t let her be in there,'" the mother told the Gazette.

'I thought I was in Iraq again'
Later Wednesday night, three men were killed in central Colorado Springs, police told the Gazette.

Two men were found dead at the scene and the third died at a local hospital, reports said.

Police had no suspects, motives or getaway vehicle information in that shooting.

Local residents told journalists they heard five quick pops Wednesday night.

"I thought I was in Iraq again," George Barnes, who said he was an Army veteran who served in the war in 2005-06, told the Gazette.

In a third incident, police officers shot an armed suspect in an apartment complex, authorities said.

Authorities said the man initially fled from police, but it did not appear that he had fired on officers.

The wounded man was hospitalized but his condition was not immediately clear.

'Pretty scary'
Billy Holder, a neighbor of the shooting victim, told KRDO-TV that the man was a college student who lived with his girlfriend and young child.

Holder said that there had been a domestic dispute and the man was burning his girlfriend's belongings outside the apartment before officers arrived at the scene.

Holder told the TV station that he heard about eight gunshots after police arrived, and narrowly escaped getting hit himself.

"One of the stray bullets went through our wall and hit our glass door," Holder told KRDO. "It missed me by three to four feet. It was pretty scary."

The shooting also upset Holder's pregnant fiancee.

"She ducked and grabbed the dog and headed toward the bedroom," he told KRDO. "She was crying and everything."

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