The six people who died in an apparent murder-suicide at a birthday party in Colorado Springs over the weekend were targeted by a family member’s disgruntled boyfriend, police said Tuesday.
Police identified the victims as Sandra Ibarra, Jose Ibarra, Mayra Ibarra de Perez, Melvin Perez, Jose Gutierrez, and Joana Cruz. A seventh adult who was in the residence, but not in the main room, with the other family members was able to get away unharmed.
The families, related by marriage, were celebrating at the home of Jose Gutierrez and Joana Cruz, Colorado Springs Lt. Joe Frabbiele said. The boyfriend of one of the victims then entered the mobile home not long after midnight and shot six of the adults in rapid succession before killing himself.
Investigators identified the gunman as Teodoro Macias, who had been dating Sandra Ibarra for about a year and was angry over not being invited to the gathering. Macias had apparently been involved in an argument with family members at a gathering just the week before.
He was characterized as a controlling and jealous boyfriend, though there were no documented domestic violence reports during the course of their relationship, according to Frabbiele.
“This behavior in particular was most obvious with trying to isolate her from her family making efforts to prevent her from attending family events,” Frabbiele said.
The tragedy is a “stark reminder” of the lethality of domestic violence, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said.
“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. “We've got children orphaned by this situation.”
Three children, ages 2, 5, and 11, were in the room when the shooting occurred but ran to a bedroom for safety and were not injured, Frabbiele said.
When police arrived at the scene, they were told by an injured Gutierrez that the gunman was still in the home. He was taken to a hospital after officers were able to secure the scene, but died of his injuries.
A 9mm handgun was found at the scene that did not belong to Macias. Investigators said the gun only had one reported sale in 2014 and has not been reported stolen. Frabbiele said authorities were still attempting to trace the gun’s history and how it ended up with the suspect.
Police are not aware of any previous suicidal behaviors from Macias and said they have not found a note describing his intentions. Investigators are looking through the couple’s communications to see if there were any warning signs prior to the shooting.
Colorado Springs Police Chief Vince Niski described the days following the shooting “long and exhausting” for both investigators and family members of the victims, who are reconciling with the tragic loss.
“At the core of this horrendous act is domestic violence,” Niski said. "The suspect who was in a relationship with one of the victims displayed power and control issues in this relationship ... No family should ever have to experience this type of loss.”
If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources. If you or someone you know is facing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence hotline for help at (800) 799-SAFE (7233), or go to www.thehotline.org for more. States often have domestic violence hotlines as well.