A man was on the run on Tuesday after police say he fatally shot three people and critically wounded a fourth over a years-long dispute about the use of an easement on the suspect’s property in rural Colorado, authorities said.
The 45-year-old suspect, Hanme K Clark, was believed to be driving a 2017 white Ram 1500 pickup truck with a camper shell, said the Custer county sheriff, Lloyd Rich Smith. He said at a midday news conference that the department were narrowing in on the suspect and hoped he would surrender peacefully.
Smith said the dispute – which included a lawsuit filed by the suspect in 2020 – had led sheriff’s deputies to the property several times in recent years. There had been no indication that it would lead to violence, Smith said.
The suspect was part owner of a business called Herbal Gardens, whose website said it is dedicated to promoting health and wellbeing through the use of herbal remedies.
The shooting took place on the property line in a wooded area on Monday afternoon, sending deputies to Rocky Ridge Road, about 8 miles (13km) from the county seat of Westcliffe and about 50 miles (80km) south-west of Colorado Springs.
Two men and a woman died at the scene and a fourth person was taken to a trauma center in critical condition but was expected to survive, the sheriff’s office said. Their names were not immediately released.
One person witnessed the shooting and fled to safety, providing law enforcement with key information, Smith said.
Residents of the wooded, rural area were told to shelter in place for five hours on Monday as authorities sought to take Clark into custody.
Residents in a part of nearby Chaffee county were told to shelter in place after a surveillance camera spotted Clark’s truck at a Walmart in the town of Salida. It left and headed toward a residential area nearby. After a search overnight using drones, a Denver police helicopter and officers on the ground, the Chaffee county sheriff’s office said on Tuesday it believed Clark had likely left the area, and the office lifted the shelter-in-place order.
A telephone message left for a lawyer who represented Clark in a lawsuit over access to property was not immediately returned.
The shooting was one of several mass shootings that have occurred in the past few days around the country.
Four people were wounded on Monday night when a gunman opened fire in a Walmart in Beavercreek, Ohio, before apparently killing himself, police said.
On Sunday, a Tennessee man died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound while on the run after a series of shootings that killed four of his female relatives. Officers found the body of Mavis Christian Jr, 52, in his car during a search following shootings at three locations in Memphis that left three women and a teenage girl dead and a teenage girl critically wounded, the Memphis police department said.