Investigators say that suspect Staff Sgt. Michael Zamora was out partying with the two people he murdered in Colorado hours before the attack. Zamora, 30, is accused of killing Savannah McNealy, 22, and Tristian Kemp, 26, in the early hours of October 19 in an apartment in the town of Fort Collins. Speaking to the media, Fort Collins police spokeswoman Kate Kimble said, “A short time after they arrived at the apartment complex, investigators believe the suspect shot the victims and ultimately, himself.” A third person, a woman, was also shot during the shooting, she survived.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Samantha McNealy Was in a Relationship With Michael Zamora; A love Triangle Has Not Been Ruled Out as a Motive
McNealy, a student at Colorado State University, was in a relationship with Zamora. ABC Denver reports that the shooting took place at the Sunstone Apartments, northwest of the Colorado State University campus. A witness told the station that she heard “12 shots just before 2 a.m.” That witness added that she heard a woman screaming about being shot and a man being dead.
In an interview with the Denver Post, Fort Collins Police Chief Terry Jones said that the three victims had been dropped off by a cab at the apartments before the shooting. Zamora had been out with the victims but did not ride home with them. The shooting started just after they got home. Jones added that officials had not ruled out a “love-triangle” motive for the killings. The Larimer County Coroner’s office said that Zamora died of a gunshot to the head.
2. Zamora Was Assigned to F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming
Zamora was a resident of Fort Collins, Colorado, but was based at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, reports ABC Denver.
3. Tristian Kemp’s Has Been Called a ‘True American Hero’
Tristian Kemp has been identified as the second victim of the shooting. He is a native of Guam but grew up in Destin, Florida, according to his Facebook page. Speaking to Fox Denver, Tristian Kemp’s uncle Thomas Perez, who is a military serviceman based in Hawaii, said:
I can say this much about my nephew, he was an American hero. He proudly served the United States and the people. When he got out of the Air Force, he continued to serve as a civilian.
He loves to have fun and he loves his family and he’s real close with his mom and everyone. Everyone would have loved him. I’m sure if you ask anybody he knows, they’ll tell you he was awesome.
4. Authorities Have Referred to the Shooting as an ‘Ambush’
The Denver Post reports that officials are referring to the shooting as an “ambush.” Chief Jones said that the driver had fled the scene before the attack started. The third victim was taken to the Medical Center of the Rockies, the Post reported. She is expected to survive.
Chief Jones told the Post, “My heart goes out to all of the people. It’s very sad. Lives are eliminated and destroyed and they have to live with this the rest of their lives.”
5. A Vigil Is Being Held for Samantha McNealy on the Night of October 20
McNealy had been a senior art major who was due to graduate in December 2017. ABC Denver reports that a vigil was held for her on the night of October 20 close to the CSU campus. While at the school, McNealy worked for the Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation.
According to the Denver Post, CSU President Tony Frank wrote in an email to students, “I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Savannah personally, but I have talked this afternoon with others who did… and she sounds like an exceptional, bright, energetic, confident, and creative young woman. She was clearly loved as a friend and daughter.” The Post report adds that McNealy had been credited with designing the walk-up to the new CSU football stadium.