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Colorado lawmakers ask for Justice Department probe into police handling of Denver-area gunman

Suspected gunman Lyndon James McLeod fatally shot five people and injured two others, including an officer, in the Dec. 27 rampage.
Image: People attend a candlelight vigil to remember tattoo artist who died during a mass shooting in Denver
A memorial outside the tattoo shop where owner Alicia Cardenas was killed during a shooting spree in Denver.Kevin Mohatt / Reuters

Four Colorado lawmakers on Thursday asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate what law enforcement agencies knew about Lyndon James McLeod before he allegedly killed five people and wounded two others in a Denver area shooting spree.

Shortly after the Dec. 27 rampage, Denver police revealed that they had received information in January 2021 from a man in Germany who said he had "several concerns" about McLeod.

The man, Andre Thiele, told the Denver Post he had read books written by McLeod and participated in a chatroom for book fans in which McLeod made alarming comments.

In a complaint to the Denver Police Department, Thiele wrote that he believed "there is a small, but undeniable possibility, that the accused may commit a terrorist attack."

The complaint was obtained by NBC affiliate KUSA of Denver.

“I cannot in good conscience say that he will act with certainty,” Thiele wrote in the complaint. “But I can say that IF he should act, the result would be devastating. He then would stop at nothing.”

Thiele told the Denver Post that he also submitted a tip online to the FBI and sent a letter via mail.

Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen acknowledged that McLeod was “on the radar” of law enforcement and had been investigated twice — once in mid-2020 and again in 2021. Neither probe led to state or criminal charges.

U.S. Representatives Ed Perlmutter, Jason Crow, Diana DeGette, and Joe Neguse wrote in a joint letter to DOJ Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz that they have "serious concerns" over how the complaints were handled.

"The aforementioned reports are concerning, and we request your office conduct an investigation into whether law enforcement agencies were aware of the severity of the threats from the gunman, the actions taken in response to these threats including the closure of investigations, and whether information sharing among agencies was adequate," they wrote in a letter Thursday.

"It is critical we understand who knew what information and when, and how this information was shared and acted upon in order to identify and close any gaps in the information sharing process among law enforcement.”

The Denver Police Department referred questions to the Department of Public Safety, which said it is conducting its own review of the investigation into McLeod and "will fully cooperate if the Department of Justice initiates an investigation."

The Justice Department declined to comment.

McLeod, 47, is accused of opening fire at Sol Tribe tattoo shop near downtown Denver on Dec. 27. Alicia Cardenas and Alyssa Gunn Maldonado were killed, and a man was injured.

He then allegedly opened fire at a nearby residence and business but did not injure anyone. After that shooting, McLeod went to another home and fatally shot Michael Swinyard.

He later went to the suburb of Lakewood, where he killed Danny Scofield inside another tattoo shop. According to police, McLeod then went to the Hyatt House hotel where he shot and killed desk clerk Sarah Steck.

McLeod was ultimately shot and killed by Lakewood Police Officer Ashley Ferris, whom he allegedly injured when he shot her in the abdomen.