COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A gunman killed two staff members at a missionary training center near Denver early Sunday after being told he couldn`t spend the night. About 12 hours later, a gunman fatally shot a person at a megachurch in Colorado Springs before a guard killed him, police said.
|A police investigator looks for evidence near a training center dormitory where four students were shot Sunday.|
The police chief in Arvada, a suburb about 15 miles west of Denver where the mission workers were shot, said the shootings may be related to those at the Colorado Springs church but declined to elaborate. Arvada authorities said no one had been captured in the shootings there.
The gunman at the New Life Church was shot and killed by a church security guard after entering the church`s main foyer with high-powered rifle shortly before 1 p.m. and opening fire, Colorado Springs Police Chief Richard Myers said.
A church member died of wounds inflicted by the gunman, Senior Pastor Brady Boyd said. At least two others were shot and wounded at the church, where hundreds of people were milling about and parents were picking up their children from the nursery.
Arvada authorities said they were sharing information with Colorado Springs investigators. The mission training program has a small office at the church`s World Prayer Center on the New Life campus.
Police arrived to find that the gunman had been killed by a member of the church`s armed security staff, Myers said.
“There was a courageous staff member who probably saved many lives here today,” Myers said.
Gov. Bill Ritter ordered state authorities to help investigate. The FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were assisting, and officers combed the church campus looking for suspicious devices.
The others injured by the church gunman were taken to Penrose Community Hospital in Colorado Springs, said hospital spokeswoman Amy Sufak.
New Life was founded by the Rev. Ted Haggard, who was fired last year after a former male prostitute alleged he had a three-year cash-for-sex relationship with him. Haggard, then the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, admitted committing undisclosed “sexual immorality.”
The New Life church is one of Colorado`s largest with about 10,000 members.
About 7,000 people were on the campus at the time of the shooting, Boyd said. Security at the church had been beefed up after the early morning shootings in Arvada, he said.
The first shooting happened at about 12:30 a.m. at the Youth With a Mission center in Arvada, a Denver suburb, police spokeswoman Susan Medina said.
A man and a woman were killed and two men were wounded, Medina said. All four were staff members of the center, said Paul Filidis, a Colorado Springs-based spokesman with Youth With a Mission.