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6 people killed at a Colorado Springs birthday party were part of an extended family, a relative says

Freddy Marquez, the relative, said the birthday party was for his wife, Nubia, who left with him, and Nubia’s older brother, Melvin Perez.

–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

City officials have not identified the names of the victims and Sandy Wilson, with the El Paso County Coroner’s Office, told CNN it may take several days for the autopsies and a forensic identification to be conducted on those involved.

The name of the shooter, who also died, has not been released.

The shooter was the boyfriend of Sandra, according to Marquez. Marquez said he doesn’t know the motive of the boyfriend. He had only met the boyfriend once, four or five months ago, and said he went by the name “Junior.”

“When we were there, it was just family,” said Marquez, referring to the party. “It was nobody outside of the family. So when we woke up to that news, we were like, no way, why?”

Only one adult survived the shooting

The Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) received a call about a shooting at about 12:18 a.m. local time on Sunday, the department said in a news release.

Officers responded to the Canterbury Mobile Home Park, where they found six dead adults, along with a seventh person who was injured and later died at a local hospital.

Police believe the suspect drove to the home where a birthday party was being held and opened fire before killing himself.

CSPD said officials are “still investigating to determine a motive.”

According to Marquez, 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 continued. “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.”

Marquez said there were three young children at the party when the shooting happened: Melvin and Mayra’s 2-year-old daughter, and Sandra’s two young daughters.

All the children survived. “The children at the trailer were uninjured by the suspect and are now with relatives,” CSPD said in the news release.

‘We’re just in shock, just in disbelief’

Marquez and Nubia left the party early at around 10 p.m. on Saturday, Marquez said.

He said his wife had to go to work at 5 a.m., so she set her alarm for 4 a.m.

When they woke up, they realized they had a bunch of missed calls from Melvin’s son. When Marquez and his wife learned what happened, he said they thought it was a joke at first.

“We’re just in shock, just in disbelief,” he said.

They’ve been starting to make funeral arrangements, but he said it’s been overwhelming due to the number of family members they’re planning for.

A friend of the family, Alisha Morales, has set up a Facebook fundraiser page.

“All donations will go directly towards their funeral expenses and any additional will help their family during this tremendous loss,” Morales wrote.

Governor calls shooting ‘devastating’

Community leaders decried the shooting on Sunday.

Despite Covid-19 and stay-at-home orders, 2020 saw an increase in homicides across the US
In a statement, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said the shooting was “devastating, especially as many of us are spending the day celebrating the women in our lives who have made us the people we are today.”

“Families torn apart,” he said, “and at a birthday party no less.”

Colorado Springs Police Chief Vince Niski said “words fall short to describe the tragedy.

“As the chief of police, as a husband, as a father, as a grandfather, as a member of this community, my heart breaks for the families who have lost someone they love and for the children who have lost their parents,” Niski said in the news release. “From the officers who responded to the shooting to the investigators still on scene, we are all left incredibly shaken. This is something you hope never happens in your own community, in the place that you call home. When these types of unspeakable acts happen, there is nothing that can be done to fully rebuild what was lost or replace those who are no longer with us.”

CNN’s Raja Razek contributed to this report.

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