Noah Jacob Harpham didn't fit the profile so often associated with a mass shooter. Quiet type. Loner. Bitter. Mad at the world.
Harpham, 33, seemed normal in every way, according to neighbor Teryl Lundquist, who chatted with him from her front yard a week ago. "This is beyond my comprehension," she said of Harpham shooting a bicyclist in front of his apartment building and two women outside a house on Platte Avenue on Saturday morning.
As authorities unwind what happened, Lundquist and others are trying to sort out why Harpham carried out a rampage on Halloween that ended in a shootout with Colorado Springs police at Wahsatch Avenue and Platte.
The Colorado Springs Police Department on Monday identified the dead. Andrew Alan Myers, 35, was shot while riding his bicycle. The two women who were living at Alano House, a "sober living home" at 523 E. Platte Ave., were Christina Rose Baccus-Gallela, 34, and Jennifer Michelle Vasquez, 42. Lundquist said Myers, clad in blue jeans with a backpack, had been riding westbound from an alley onto Prospect Street when Harpham shot him. She said Myers' body remained on the sidewalk where he fell, uncovered, for up to 10 hours.
In a rambling video posted online by Harpham two days before the shooting, first reported by the Gazette, he expressed displeasure with a California preacher at a church his father attended. He said he wanted his dad to respond to observations Harpham made about the sermon but that, "I've been waiting and waiting and haven't heard anything... We'll see what happens." Harpham didn't appear distressed.
Lundquist, who said she wasn't home when Harpham opened fire, described him as "a nice guy."
"He wasn't weird at all," she says. During their chat a week ago, she asked how he liked the apartment, and he said he liked it. He also offered to do heavy lifting for neighbors, she says.
"Usually he smiles. He's warm," she says, adding he worked for Progressive Insurance, which he told her had recently cut his hours. Just days ago, Harpham helped his landlord unload lumber — the same lumber he set fire to inside the building, Lundquist says.
The four officers involved in shooting Harpham have been placed on indefinite paid administrative leave, pending an investigation being handled by the Sheriff's Office. None of them were wearing body cameras, nor did their cruisers have dashboard cameras.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Alano House clinical director Kari Castain said her organization was working to clean up the crime scene so other residents of the Alano House could return. They're staying elsewhere until then, she said. To donate to the recovery effort and counseling for the women's families, go to alanohouse.org.
"The community has been wonderful in their outreach of support," she says. "We just want to give as much support, understanding and compassion to the families as we can."
It's the second investigation of an officer-involved shooting conducted by the Sheriff's Office in as many months under a new state law requiring multiple agencies to work together on such cases ("Moment of truth," News, Oct. 7). The office investigated a Sept. 24 shooting by Fountain Police Officer Jonathan Kay, who was called to a disturbance at a home and shot 17-year-old Patrick O'Grady, who reportedly was armed with a firearm. That investigation was forwarded to the District Attorney's Office about a month ago, says Fountain Police Chief Chris Heberer via email. Kay has returned to work from administrative leave, Heberer says.
Mayor John Suthers issued a statement Monday calling Saturday's shooting "a terrible tragedy" and extending "heartfelt sympathies to the families and friends of the victims of this crime."
A tiny shrine of flowers, candles and notes stood Monday where Myers fell. One note conveyed sympathy for neighbors and loved ones of the slain, and expressed frustration that people still resist stricter gun laws.