(WESTCLIFFE, Colo.) — A suspect is in custody in connection with a rural Colorado shooting that left three people dead and one in critical condition, authorities said.
The arrest follows a day-long manhunt for the suspect — identified by authorities as Hanme K. Clark, 45, of Westcliffe. He was arrested by New Mexico State Police, the Custer County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday afternoon.
A property dispute led to the shooting, which occurred along a “property line in the wooded area” in Custer County, according to the Custer County Sheriff’s Office.
Law enforcement responded to the scene at about 1 p.m. local time Monday to a report of shots fired, officials said.
Three people — two men and a woman — had been fatally shot, while another woman was in critical condition but is expected to survive, the sheriff’s office said.
An arrest warrant had been issued for Clark on three counts of first-degree murder, according to the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office.
Amid the manhunt, police were searching for a white Ram 1500 pickup associated with the suspect, the sheriff’s office said.
The vehicle was spotted at a Walmart in Salida following the shooting, according to the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office. The occupant purchased several items in the Walmart and then left in the vehicle “in the direction of the Methodist Mountain residential area,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
Shelter-in-place orders that had been implemented in Custer and Chaffee counties amid the search for the suspect have since been lifted.
Custer County Sheriff Rich Smith said the shooting was reported near a residence on Rocky Ridge Road in Westcliffe. The shooting occurred in a wooded area along a gravel road, Smith said.
It took first responders about 21 minutes to arrive at the scene, in a “remote” area of the county, Smith said.
The first arriving responders made a “high-risk entry to the crime scene,” as they did not know the location of the shooter, Smith said.
“We could not have responded to an incident of this magnitude without all the help we got from our community,” Smith said during emotional remarks at a press briefing on Tuesday. “I hate to see gun violence in my community.”
The three deceased victims were identified by the sheriff’s office as Rob Geers, Beth Wade and James Daulton. The fourth victim, Patty Daulton, is being treated at a trauma center, the sheriff’s office said.
One person was not shot in the incident and was able to run to safety, Smith said.
The victims were from multiple families, according to the sheriff.
“All of the deceased are involved with a property dispute involving the suspect,” said Smith, who told reporters there had been an ongoing court battle between neighbors and the suspect over access to an “informal gravel road” on the suspect’s property that some neighbors currently have the legal right to drive on.
The shooting occurred on one of the victim’s property, Smith said.
Amid the manhunt, Smith said they had been in touch with the suspect’s family members and associates.
“They tell us that they hope he will be willing to turn himself in so that this can be peacefully resolved,” Smith said. “We’re willing to negotiate a peaceful surrender.”
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