Sonny Archuleta Identified As Gunman in Second Aurora Colorado Shooting

Aurora, Colorado police have identified 33-year-old Sonny Archuleta as the shooter in a recent shooting rampage which resulted in 4 deaths that Saturday - the second mass shooting in that town this year after deranged gunman James Holmes killed 12 and wounded 58 at a premiere showing of the new Batman movie in July.

Early Saturday morning, Archuleta apparently entered his townhome at 16005 Ithaca Place carrying at least one firearm. An exchange of some form happened at 3 AM, after which one resident of the home, Archuleta's wife, Stephanie, was able to escape the residence through a window and notify authorities of a shooting. At some point between Archuleta's arrival at the Ithaca Place home and the response of police forces, Archuleta killed 3 other members of the household.

Hostage negotiations apparently failed due to Archuleta's inability to act rationally. According to police sources, he acted "very irrationally... hung up the phone on negotiators, and ignored bullhorn commands to exit the premises... tear gas did not faze him." One neighbor, Jennifer Williams, suggested that Archuleta was a methamphetamines user and that "there was all kinds of commotion at that house."

Authorities reportedly evacuated a three-block radius surrounding the house as part of efforts to ensure public safety and coax Archuleta out.

“Sonny, come down stairs. Sonny, we have your wife. Sonny, come out and we’ll get you the help you need,” said the police negotiator, according to neighbor Shaunna Bustios.

“We know you’ve been up for four days. What’s done is done. Come out and we’ll get you some help," Williams overheard.

At some point near 8 AM, police lobbed tear gas into the first floor of the home. An Aurora SWAT team in an armored vehicle attempted to breach the residence and was fired upon. Though officers did not return fire that time, they did an hour later when Archuleta began shooting from a second-story window, resulting in his death. It was only at that time that authorities discovered the other bodies in the townhome.

Archuleta's MySpace and Twitter pages reveal he was deeply religious, according to the Daily Mail. Public records indicate Archuleta had three previous weapons charges, including "prohibited use of a weapon in 2004 and carrying a concealed weapon in Denver in June."

On September 3rd, Archuleta's brother Pat was murdered in a Denver restaurant. Sonny Archuleta is not suspected in that incident, although it is unknown what impact it had on his mental state prior to the shooting.

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Tom McKay

Tom is a staff writer at Mic, covering national politics, media, policing and the war on drugs. He is based in New York and can be reached at tmckay@mic.com.

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