3 shootings in northern Colorado may be connected

Ciera+Rogers%2C+far+right%2C+receives+condolences+from+her+friend+Sam+Hinde%2C+on+the+loss+of+Rogers%27+grandfather%2C+who+was+shot+and+killed+the+night+before+on+a+sidewalk+near+his+home%2C+in+the+northern+Colorado+town+of+Loveland%2C+Thursday%2C+June+4%2C+2015.+At+left%2C+facing%2C+Emmett+Pelissier+hugs+Ciera+Rogers%27+sister+Sadie.+%28AP+Photo%2FBrennan+Linsley%29

Ciera Rogers, far right, receives condolences from her friend Sam Hinde, on the loss of Rogers' grandfather, who was shot and killed the night before on a sidewalk near his home, in the northern Colorado town of Loveland, Thursday, June 4, 2015. At left, facing, Emmett Pelissier hugs Ciera Rogers' sister Sadie. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Maggie McVey

SOLOMON BANDA
Associated Press

LOVELAND, Colorado The overnight killing of a man on a sidewalk in the northern Colorado city of Loveland has raised the possibility that a serial shooter might be trolling the area’s roads after a bicyclist recently was gunned down and a driver was wounded nearby.

Police and the FBI have refused to comment on whether a serial shooter is on the loose, but they offered a $10,000 reward for information in the first two unsolved shootings, which authorities say are related — though they haven’t said how. In one, a bicyclist was found dead along a rural road near Windsor, about 15 miles. In the other, a woman driving along Interstate 25 about 15 miles away from Loveland was shot in the neck but survived.

Officials said it’s too early to know if the Loveland shooting is connected.

In that case, a 65-year-old man was found lying on a sidewalk along a main street Wednesday night. Police have not released his name, but family and neighbors identified him as William Connole, a cancer survivor who often took late-night walks through his quiet neighborhood.

Sadie Rogers, 15, said her grandfather worked for years in the computer industry before taking a job at Home Depot. She said the late-night walks helped him go to sleep after work. Even when he had cancer, she said Connole would still come to her softball games.

“He just did everything for everyone he could,” she said.

Neighbor Russell Harmon said it seems like the shootings could be connected.

“I’ve got two children and a wife and I don’t want to be outside playing with my kids, you know, they’re riding bikes or something down the sidewalk, and somebody come by and shoot me or them,” he said.

Police said Thursday that detectives are consulting with members of a task force to see if the latest shooting is linked to the other two.

“Right now, it’s still early,” Loveland Police Sgt. Mike Halloran said. “We don’t have enough information to show there is a link, and we don’t have enough information to show there isn’t a link.”

Halloran said the agency thought it was prudent to involve the task force to share information because shootings are rare in Loveland, a city of about 70,000 people, which is roughly 50 miles north of Denver.

Windsor police last week announced that the earlier two shootings were linked, but they declined to say how they determined that. Police Chief John Michaels said his department, area law enforcement and the FBI have been collaborating on the cases.

On Thursday, Windsor police Lt. Rick Klimek said tips are pouring in about the cyclist shooting but have not led to anything substantial yet.

“They’re all going into a database to see what, if anything, fits together,” he said. The tips have included everything from years-old shootings to suspicious vehicles.

“People are just hypersensitive now to their surroundings,” Klimek said.

Adding to community concerns, drivers in northern Colorado have reported a string of broken vehicle windows since the I-25 shooting. Investigators so far have found no proof of gunshots in those cases.

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