A gunshot on Monday afternoon near the town of Westcliffe resulted in three fatalities and one seriously injured person due to a property dispute.
Officials announced Tuesday afternoon that the suspect in the triple killing in Custer County, Colorado, has been apprehended by the New Mexico State Police following a 25-hour manhunt.
An order to shelter in place was issued by the Custer County Sheriff’s Department, and a SWAT unit showed up within an hour. Hanme K. Clark, age 45, was the suspect who was involved in an hours-long confrontation with responding police until Clark managed to flee. It was decided to suspend the shelter-in-place by 9 p.m.
Deputies found two males and a woman dead at the scene, according to the sheriff’s office. According to the sheriff’s office, a fourth victim was discovered injured and was admitted to a hospital in severe condition. We anticipate her survival.
Custer County Sheriff Rich Smith announced during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon that Clark was apprehended shortly after 2:45 p.m. Smith added that no one was hurt during the arrest and that he was taken into custody without any problems.
Earlier on Tuesday, Clark’s girlfriend was riding with him in his pickup. A task group made up of state and federal law enforcement officials halted them in New Mexico.
Custer County law enforcement issued a shelter-in-place order for the Rocky Ridge Road area northeast of Westcliffe, in the northern portion of the county, at 2:30 p.m. on Monday afternoon. Afterwards, it was lifted.
According to Custer County Sheriff Rich Smith, “nothing like this has ever happened in this quiet, peaceful town.”
During a high-risk felony traffic stop, the suspect was apprehended by U.S. Marshals and the New Mexico State Police in the vicinity of Albuquerque, New Mexico, officials reported Tuesday afternoon. He had a Colorado licence plate BHLK27 on his white Dodge Ram pickup truck with a topper.
According to the authorities, there were three first-degree murder counts against the man. Smith continued, “He is being held in New Mexico and will be extradited back to Colorado.”
The victims were recognized by law enforcement Tuesday in the afternoon as 63-year-old Rob Geers, 73-year-old Beth Wade, and James Daulton. The Custer County Sheriff’s Office said that Patty Daulton was hurt and was receiving treatment at a trauma centre in Colorado Springs.
Smith reported that Clark’s neighbors were the Geers. Not immediately accessible were more specifics regarding the property issue that law enforcement officers had mentioned.
Smith added that the properties that flanked the suspect’s land belonged to the Geers and Daulton families.
“We have received calls form the suspect complaining about the neighbours and from the neighbours complaining bout the suspect but never imagined it would have ended in a place like this,” Smith explained.
Property boundaries sparked a dispute
According to the sheriff’s office, a disagreement over property lines sparked the shooting. Smith stated at a press conference on Tuesday that there had been a long-running argument between the suspect and his neighbours.
Smith claimed that the easement issue implicated all of the departed victims. A piece of land that is legally granted to others for usage is known as an easement. An easement permitting his neighbors to drive through the suspect’s land, according to Smith, is a “source of irritation for him.”
The suspect and the neighbours have both complained to deputies on multiple occasions, according to the sheriff, and the deputies have responded. Like the one that sparked the shooting, property disputes occur “almost every day” in the region, according to Smith.
“We have visited this suspect’s residence multiple times,” Smith stated, adding that there was “no indication whatsoever that this would happen.”
As per the sheriff, the suspect fired while he was not on his own land.
After a spike in gun violence during the coronavirus outbreak, this tragic shooting is the most recent in a string of violent crimes that have reached historically high levels.