Denver police officers believe the five people killed in Monday night’s shooting were targeted by the gunman, Lyndon McLeod. Reports show that each of the five victims had a personal or business connection to the Denver shooter.
According to Denver Police Cmdr. Matt Clark, “It does appear that the offender was targeting specific people in this case. The victims were known to the offender.” Three out of the five victims worked in the tattoo industry, where McLeod used to own a business.
The five victims include, Alicia Cardenas, 44, owner of Sol Tribe Tattoos; Alyssa Gunn-Maldonado, coworker of Cardenas; Danny Scofield, an artist at Lucky 13 Tattoo; and Sarah Steck, receptionist at the Hyatt Hotel. A fifth victim was killed at his home near Cheesman Park, but he has not been identified.
Alyssa Gunn-Maldonado’s husband, Jimmy, was also shot at the tattoo shop, but he was only injured and is expected to survive.
The fourth victim, Sarah Steck, worked at the Hyatt Hotel and while she didn’t have an obvious personal relationship with Lyndon McLeod, according to police, the Denver shooter did have a relationship with the hotel. Police say that the shooter had previous run ins with the Hyatt Hotel, but whether those experiences were violent has not been reported.
Investigators discovered that Lyndon McLeod published a violent Sci-Fi series called Sanction, and the books mirrored the shooting that took place Monday. He published the books under the pen name Roman McClay and in Book 2, character Lyndon McLeod goes on a six-month rampage killing 46 people who wronged him over the course of his life.
In one part of the book McLeod writes, “Within 2.3 seconds, he trained the muzzle on the girl — her head and throat — as she cowed on the bed and screamed. He shot her twice. If she had been quiet, he might not have shot her so quickly; but women are noisy — like kids — and for that they must pay a price.”
In the book, some of those people are killed in tattoo parlors, just like the Denver shootings that took place Monday night. The books are available on Amazon and have many five-star reviews. Most the comments praise the book for its writing while also warning potential buyers about the level of violence that the book has.
One review wrote that McLeod’s books, “give full vent to their sexism, racism and every other-ism kept out of mainstream discourse.”
On his social media, Lyndon McLeod was known to spread his extremist and violent views. The 47-year-old shared anti-Covid memes, alt-right conspiracy theories, and talked about how our society is filled with weak people who are protected by the police and government. He believed it was time for the strong to take over.
Last year he tweeted a rant about weak men. He said, “This is basically the plot to my stupid book. Our entire society is made up of sh-tty little f–ks who insult badasses & get away with it because law enforcement & social norms protect the WEAK from the STRONG. I’m over it. The weak better buckle up… shit is about to get real.”
According to Denver Police, McLeod was known by the police force, and they had previously looked into him in 2020 and 2021 for undisclosed crimes. No charges were ever filed, and McLeod was not arrested.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis released a statement after Monday’s shooting and said, “Tragedies like this, especially in the midst of the holidays, are deeply unsettling. My administration is working with local law enforcement to understand what happened last evening and provide the needed support throughout the investigation.”
While a motive for the tragic shooting has not been determined, many believe that McLeod targeted his victims because of his own failed tattoo business. The former tattoo parlor owner filed bankruptcy in 2017 for his business Flat Black Ink.
According to the DailyMail, the storefront where McLeod previously set up his business is now owned by Ian Lutz and World Tattoo Studio. Lutz, who has owned his studio for four and a half years bought the property from Alicia Cardenas and never knew about the history.
“Yeah, I have no prior knowledge of really the history of the shop before my owning it. I know that Alicia owned it and it was sort of a secondary Sol Tribe,” Lutz said.
On the night of the shooting, Lyndon McLeod went to World Tattoo Studio, fired some shots and chased people. A van was burned outside the building, but no one was injured there.
Lastly, a Denver police officer was shot while in a shootout with Lyndon McLeod. She killed the gunman and only suffered a gunshot wound to the leg. She is expected to recover.
Denver Police continue to investigate.