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Family members identify victims in Colorado Springs birthday party shooting

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Posted at 5:13 AM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-11 08:55:08-04

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Family members have identified the six victims who were shot and killed during a birthday party early Sunday morning in Colorado Springs.

The victims were found just after midnight inside a trailer in the Canterbury Manufactured Home Community on the east side of the city. Police say the suspect turned the gun on himself shortly after the brutal slaying.

The suspected shooter, who has not been identified by police, was the boyfriend of a female victim at the party attended by friends, family and children. The children were not wounded in the shooting and were placed with relatives.

On Monday, CNN spoke with Freddy Marquez, a relative who was at the party Saturday night but left about two hours before the shooter arrived. He says the birthday party was for his wife, Nubia, and her older brother, Melvin. The couple left about two hours before the shooting.

Marquez identified the victims as:

  • Melvin Perez, would have turned 31, brother of Nubia and Jose
  • Mayra Perez, 32, wife of Melvin
  • Joana Cruz, 53, mother of Nubia, Melvin, and Jose
  • Jose Gutierrez, 21, brother of Nubia and Melvin
  • Sandra Ibarra, age unknown, sister of Mayra Perez
  • Jose Ibarra, age unknown, brother of Mayra Perez

According to Marquez's comments to CNN, some people were already asleep when the shooting happened and only one adult survived at the party — the husband of Joana Cruz. He was in the bathroom when the suspect arrived.

"He said he heard all the gunfire and when he opened up the (bathroom) door, everything had happened already, almost like in a blink of an eye," Marquez said.

"He said the guy was on a mission basically, like he went in there knowing what he was going to do," Marquez saod. "He did it, and that was that. There was no commotion. There was no fighting. He went in there and did what he was there to do.”

The tragic event has left neighbors in a state of disbelief, confusion and sadness.

Gladis Bustos lives near home where shooting happened. She remembers her neighbor, Joana Cruz, well and even spoke with her the morning of the birthday party. Bustos says Cruz was a nice and courteous person and always had a smile on her face.

Bustos says she remembers hearing people yelling, pounding noises and people screaming, “No! No!”

Police have not released a theory for a motive behind the shooting. But Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers says the shooting appears to be a domestic violence incident.

“We have to remember that 20% of the victims of homicides related to domestic violence are not the partners," Suthers said. "They are bystanders, police officers that show up, people at the wrong place, wrong time, and that is what happened here. We had a lot of innocent people that were killed.”

Anyone who has information about this crime, or is a witness who has not spoken with detectives, is asked to call the Colorado Springs Police Department at (719) 444-7000. Callers can remain anonymous by calling the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at (719) 634-STOP (7867).

This story was originally published by Robert Garrison on Scripps station KMGH in Denver.