The Boulder County Coroner’s Office on Thursday night identified the machete-wielding suspect who was shot and killed by police inside the Champions Center at the University of Colorado’s Folsom Field on Wednesday morning as Marine veteran Brandon Simmons, 28, of Thornton.
Two police officers shot and killed Simmons on Wednesday morning after the man refused to drop his weapon. It was a move police said was in the “best interest” of the campus.
CU spokesman Ryan Huff said Simmons is not affiliated with the school.
He does not appear to have a criminal history in Colorado.
A source close to the investigation told the Daily Camera on Wednesday that the suspect was a white male in his early 20s who appeared to be a “religious zealot of some kind” and who had been overheard talking about “looking for sinners.” The source had tentatively ID’d the suspect as a recently discharged U.S. Marine, though that claim had yet to be confirmed as of Thursday night.
The shooting was the start of a tumultuous day on CU’s Boulder campus that sparked several false active-shooter reports and the evacuation and closure of the University Memorial Center hours later.
The source Wednesday said that approached a woman sitting in her car in the parking lot outside the Champions Center and wrote a message referring to the Ten Commandments on the vehicle.
Emergency responders were first alerted around 9:15 a.m. that a man with a machete had entered the Champions Center.
“A patient who was receiving treatment at the sports-medicine facility encountered a man armed with a machete outside,” CU police Chief Melissa Zak said at a news conference Wednesday. “The man made threatening and harassing statements to the patient, at which time the patient entered the Champions Center and went to the second floor. The suspect followed the patient to the second floor.”
Though she added that she could not comment on whether the officers considered non-lethal options this early in the investigation, Zak defended the decision to shoot the suspect.
“Given the weapon that the suspect was armed with, given the statements already made to our initial victim and given the nature of how (the suspect) was maneuvering through the Champions Center, we believe that it was in the best interest of the university — that it was a deadly force situation,” Zak said at the time.
A Boulder officer and a CU officer fired shots at the man, according to Boulder police Chief Greg Testa.
Testa said he did not know how many shots the officers fired.
No officers or any people inside the building were injured, officials said.
Both officers are on administrative leave, pending an investigation into the officer-involved shooting by the county’s Critical Incident Team.
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