clear
Friday November 24th, 2017 8:56PM

Suspect walked off job hours before Colorado Walmart attack

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

THORNTON, Colo. (AP) — A man accused of opening fire inside a suburban Denver Walmart, killing three people, abruptly walked away from his roofing company job hours before the attack, his former boss said Thursday.

Scott Ostrem's employer and neighbors painted a somewhat dueling portrait of the suspect.

Ostrem worked at a metal fabrication shop for the last three years without any problems, said David Heidt of B&M Roofing. He called Ostrem a quiet worker who was skilled at making metal flashing for roofs. But midmorning Wednesday, he left his work station without explanation.

Two men and a woman were killed at the store that evening.

Though quiet at work, Ostrem's neighbors described him as a hostile loner who cursed at them and often carried a shotgun in and out of his third-floor unit.

Police arrested Ostrem, 47, following a brief chase Thursday morning in the northern Denver suburb of Thornton, several blocks from his apartment building and about 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the Walmart.

Ostrem was handcuffed at a crowded intersection about 14 hours after the shooting that sent dozens of shoppers and workers fleeing in panic from the busy store. Police spokesman Victor Avila declined to say whether Ostrem had a weapon.

Killed were Pamela Marques, 52, Carlos Moreno, 66, and Victor Vasquez, 26, the coroner said. None were Walmart employees, and all were Hispanic.

Ostrem is white. Police offered no possible motive for the shooting other than to say there was nothing to suggest it was related to terrorism.

Ostrem was identified as a suspect after investigators reviewed surveillance video, police said, though they first had to rule out "a few" other people who drew weapons when the gunman opened fire. Avila said he didn't know if any of the people were security officers employed by Walmart.

At the Samuel Park Apartments building where Ostrem lived, most tenants talk to each other, but renter Teresa Muniz said Ostrem never returned her greetings and swore at people for sitting on exterior stairways and leaving laundry in communal machines.

"He didn't seem to have anybody," she said. "Being angry all the time. That's what he seemed like, always angry."

Muniz said she sometimes saw Ostrem carrying a shotgun or a bow and set of arrows to and from the building, which faces the back side of a liquor store, a dollar store and a cellphone store.

Gerald Burnett, a 63-year-old retiree who lives in a first-floor unit, said he was sitting on the stairs drinking coffee one morning when Ostrem came down, told him to move and cursed at him.

"Dude had an attitude, big time," Burnett said. "He's the type of person if you said, 'Good morning,' he wouldn't say nothing. If you greeted him, he wouldn't say anything back. I just learned not to even talk to the clown."

Thornton is a mostly blue-collar community where about a third of its 136,000 residents identify as Hispanic or Latino. It's about 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of downtown Denver.

Ostrem had minor run-ins with police dating to the 1990s, including a December 1999 charge of resisting arrest in Denver that was dismissed the following year.

In September 2015, Ostrem filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and listed his income for the previous year as $47,028.00. He estimated that he owed more than $85,000, including credit card debt.

There was no evidence Ostrem had ever worked for Walmart, spokesman Ragan Dickens said.

Witnesses said the shooter walked calmly into the store, opened fire and fled.

Marlena and Jason Fobb said they were paying for a vacuum and contact lenses when a man at a nearby register was shot.

"We were all looking at each other like, 'Oh gosh, this is it,'" Marlena Fobb said.

The couple and others hid in a small storage room, she said. When officers arrived, they told them to "hurry and run" and not look at bodies, she added.

___

Associated Press writers Tatiana Flowers, Nicholas Riccardi and Colleen Slevin in Denver and news researchers Jennifer Farrar, Randy Herschaft and Monika Mathur in New York contributed to this report.

___

This story has been corrected to state that the suspect's age is 47, not 37.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Attack survivor told 5 classmates killed
One of the people injured in the New York City bike path attack has been told that five of his high school classmates from Argentina were killed that day
8:42PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Suspect walked off job hours before Colorado Walmart attack
A man arrested on suspicion of fatally shooting three people inside a Colorado Walmart has been described by neighbors as a hostile loner
8:41PM ( 10 minutes ago )
The Latest: Vigil remembers NYC truck attack victims
The eight people killed when a rental truck rampaged down a Manhattan bike path are being remembered at a vigil and memorial march
7:57PM ( 54 minutes ago )
U.S. News
Persistence leads to solving 1979 case of teen's slaying
Persistence, leads to solving 1979 case of Oregon teen's slaying
8:43PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Frizzy-haired, smaller-headed orangutan may be new great ape
A remote population of frizzy-haired orangutans on the Indonesian island of Sumatra seems to be a new species of primate, scientists say
8:43PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Security and trade challenge Trump on first Asia trip
Security and trade will loom large during President Donald Trump's first official visit to Asia, which begins Sunday in Japan
8:39PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Bill introduced allowing Hawaii's foreign fishermen onshore
Hawaii's lawmakers in DC introduce bill that would allow the 700 foreign fishermen to come onshore when boats are docked
7:15PM ( 1 hour ago )
Big GOP tax bill would cut rates _ but also popular breaks
House Republicans have unfurled their plan for the most extensive rewrite of the nation's tax code in three decades
6:26PM ( 2 hours ago )
Brother of French jihadi who killed 7 escapes life sentence
A French court has convicted a 35-year-old man of terrorism ties but found him not guilty of complicity in his younger brother's deadly attacks on a Jewish school and French paratroopers
6:24PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
Suspect in Colorado Walmart killings called hostile loner
A man arrested on suspicion of fatally shooting three people inside a Colorado Walmart has been described by neighbors as a hostile loner
4:58PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Catalan police step in to shield Spain officers
A crowd shouting slogans against the Spanish police has gathered outside a court building in Barcelona that was being guarded by officers from the national force
4:49PM ( 4 hours ago )
Protocol in Asia? Trump to use 'whatever language he wants'
President Donald Trump's visit to Asia beginning Friday means lots of planning, no insults and above all, no surprises
4:37PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online National News
The Latest: Walmart suspect left work early before shooting
The roofing company boss of a man suspected of fatally shooting three people at a suburban Denver Walmart says the suspect walked away from his job without warning the morning of the shooting
5:09PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Mosques threatened after NYC truck attack
Two New Jersey mosques in the city where the suspect in the New York City bike path terror attack lived are receiving threats
4:09PM ( 4 hours ago )
Muslims in NJ city fear another backlash after latest attack
Muslims in Paterson, New Jersey, fear another backlash after the latest terror attack _ the truck rampage in New York City that left eight people dead
3:50PM ( 5 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
The Latest: Attack survivor told 5 classmates killed
One of the people injured in the New York City bike path attack has been told that five of his high school classmates from Argentina were killed that day
8:42PM ( 10 minutes ago )
The Latest: Vigil remembers NYC truck attack victims
The eight people killed when a rental truck rampaged down a Manhattan bike path are being remembered at a vigil and memorial march
7:57PM ( 55 minutes ago )
US won't extradite American charged with murder to Tonga
The U.S. State Department says an American charged with murdering his wife in Tonga shouldn't be extradited because he can't get a fair trial there
7:35PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Police say shoppers drew guns after shooting
Colorado police investigating a shooting at a suburban Denver Walmart say they had to rule out customers who drew weapons as suspects after a gunman opened fire inside the store
7:17PM ( 1 hour ago )
Trump's tweets seen as unlikely to slow New York terror case
President Donald Trump's tweets calling for the death penalty for the man accused in the New York truck rampage could be seized on by defense attorneys as evidence of bias
7:10PM ( 1 hour ago )