On Sunday, while the majority of Americans were observing Mother’s Day, a gunman walked into a birthday party at a mobile home park in Colorado Springs, CO, and shot and killed six people, including his girlfriend, before shooting and killing himself. “I thought it was a thunderstorm,” neighbor Yenifer Reyes told a reporter from The Denver Post. “Then I started hearing sirens.”
Authorities believe the gunman was victim Sandra Ibarra’s boyfriend, though they are still investigating a possible motive. The shooter also shot and killed Ibarra’s brother, Jose; Joana Cruz, 53; Melvin Perez, 30; Jose Gutierrez, 21; and Mayra Perez, 32. There were children at the party, but they were inside a mobile home when the shooting started. Reyes told the Post she saw police bring the children out of the trailer and put them into at least one patrol car. “They were crying hysterically,” she told reporters.
Freddy Marquez, who had attended the party but left early because his wife had to get up early for work the next day, told the Post family and friends had gathered to celebrate his wife, brother-in-law's, and mother-in-law's birthdays. When Marquez’s wife woke up at 4 a.m. the next day to go to work, she learned about the shooting — she had lost her mother and two brothers.
“It’s just crazy, it’s not what we expected on Mother’s Day,” Marquez told reporters. “I’m at a loss for words.”
“The tragic shooting in Colorado Springs is devastating, as many of us are spending the day celebrating the women in our lives who made us the people we are today,” Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement posted on Twitter. “Multiple lives were taken by this terrible act of violence. Families torn apart, and at a birthday [party] no less. My deepest condolences and prayers are with the victims, their families, and everyone else impacted by this tragedy."
The shooting is the deadliest in the state since a gunman opened fire in a supermarket in Boulder in March, killing 10 people. Colorado had the sixth-highest rate of public mass killings out of the 50 states in a database compiled in March by USA Today, Northeastern University, and the Associated Press.
But Colorado is not the only state to have experienced a mass shooting in recent days. According to CNN, there were nine mass shootings in the U.S. over the weekend. On Saturday night, a gunman opened fire at a Hyatt Regency Hotel in Phoenix, AZ, killing one person and injuring at least seven others. Three people were shot and killed, and another was injured, during a shooting at a townhome outside of Baltimore, MD, on Saturday morning. At least three people were killed and nine others injured in three different shootings in California — one in Los Angeles late Sunday night that left one person dead and five others injured; one outside a nightclub in Citrus Heights that left four people injured; and one in Compton that left two people dead, both believed to be between 15 and 20 years old.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 194 mass shootings in the U.S. this year as of May 10. A reported 15,300 people have died as a result of gun violence in the first five months of 2021. Every day, 106 people are shot and killed in the U.S. Advocates are now calling for action after a weekend of unprecedented violence, and a year of shootings that have devastated the entire country.
“This weekend there were shootings in Times Square (three shot, including a 4-year-old toy shopping), in a Miami mall (three wounded), in a Baltimore neighborhood (three killed), at a Colorado Springs birthday party (six killed), in Chicago communities (18 shot, five killed),” Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence, tweeted.
"Firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens in the United States," Everytown for Gun Safety tweeted on Sunday. "Our kids don’t have to die like this. Text CHECKS to 644-33 to tell your senators to take action on background checks."