Authorities said they were searching for a suspect in a shooting in rural Colorado that left three people dead and one in critical condition.
A land dispute led to a shooting along a “property line in the wooded area,” according to the Custer County Sheriff’s Office.
Law enforcement responded to the scene around 1 p.m. local time Monday following reports of shots fired, officials said.
Three people – two men and a woman – were shot and killed, while another woman is in critical condition but is expected to survive, the sheriff’s office said.
The suspect — identified by authorities as Hanme K. Clark, 45, of Westcliffe — remains at large, the sheriff’s office said Tuesday morning.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Clark on three counts of first-degree murder, according to the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office.
“The suspect is driving a White Ram 1500 pickup with a Colorado license plate: BHLK27,” the sheriff’s office said.
The vehicle was last seen in Chaffee County, Colorado, according to the Custer County Sheriff’s Office.
The vehicle was spotted at a Walmart in Salida after the shooting, according to the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office. The occupant purchased several items at Walmart then left in the vehicle “in the direction of the Methodist Mountain residential area,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release.
Stay-at-home orders that were implemented in Custer and Chaffee counties amid the search for the suspect have since been lifted.
“After a vigilant search by ground and air, we believe the suspect has likely left our area,” the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.
Authorities warned that the suspect is considered armed and dangerous and that they should call 911 if he or his vehicle is spotted.
Custer County Sheriff Rich Smith said the shooting was reported near a residence on Rocky Ridge Road in Westcliffe. The shooting happened in a wooded area along a gravel road, Smith said.
It took first responders about 21 minutes to arrive at the scene, in a “remote” area of the county, Smith said.
Arriving first responders made a “high-risk entry to the crime scene” because they did not know the shooter’s location, Smith said.
“We could not have responded to an incident of this magnitude without all the help we received from our community,” Smith said in emotional remarks at a press briefing Tuesday. “I hate seeing gun violence in my community.”
The three deceased victims were identified by the sheriff’s office as Rob Geers, Beth Wade and James Daulton. The fourth victim, Patty Daulton, is being treated at a trauma center, the sheriff’s office said.
One person was not shot during the incident and was able to get to safety, Smith said.
The victims belonged to several families, according to the sheriff.
“All of the deceased are involved in a real estate dispute involving the suspect,” said Smith, who told reporters there was an ongoing legal battle between neighbors and the suspect over access to a “gravel road informal” on the suspect’s property that some neighbors currently have the legal right to continue driving.
The shooting happened on the property of one of the victims, Smith said.
Smith said he has been in contact with the suspect’s family members and associates.
“They tell us they hope he will be willing to turn himself in so this matter can be resolved peacefully,” Smith said. “We are ready to negotiate a peaceful surrender.”