DENVER – The man believed to have killed five people during a shooting spree across the Denver area on Monday night wrote online fictional books that named some of his real-life victims and described similar attacks, authorities said.
The self-published fiction novels are part of the investigation as police piece together the reasons why Lyndon James McLeod, 47, carried out the shootings, The Denver Post reported.
According to Denver police spokesperson Doug Schepman, the shootings occurred in less than an hour, and that McLeod, who was also killed, knew most of the people he shot. Four of the people he shot were attacked at tattoo shops, according to the Post.
In his novels, McLeod named both Alicia Cardenas, 44, and Michael Swinyard, 67, as murder victims in his novels, the Post reported. Both were killed Monday, according to the newspaper.
Cardenas, a tattoo artist, was among McLeod’s first victims and was killed at her shop along with another woman, 35-year-old Alyssa Gunn, KMGH reported.
A man who was also wounded at Cardenas’ shop is expected to survive, police said. According to The Associated Press, he was identified by friends and customers as Gunn’s husband, James Maldonado, who worked as a piercer at the tattoo shop.
Also killed was Danny Scofield, 38, who was fatally shot at Lucky 13 Tattoo in Lakewood; and Sarah Steck, 28, a hotel clerk at the Hyatt House in Lakewood, KMGH reported.
In his novels, McLeod, whose pen name was Roman McClay, uses his own name for one of the characters, the Post reported. In his first book, a character named Lyndon stalks a poker party held by a character named “Michael Swinyard,” the AP reported. The character fatally shoots everyone at the party after gaining access in a building near Denver’s Cheesman Park by posing as a police officer.
“The mission was two-fold,” McLeod wrote in the chapter describing Swinyard’s killing, according to KDVR. “Execute Michael for his betrayal and take everyone’s cash.”
Police said Swinyard was fatally shot at a home near Cheesman Park.
“The murders were like food in the belly, like wine at rest on the tongue,” the first book reads, according to the Post. “Killing people nourished the soul.”
According to a letter from the building manager to residents, McLeod was impersonating a police officer by wearing tactical gear with a police logo and badge, KUSA-TV reported. He was carrying a rifle when he entered the building lobby, according to the television station.
The building security guard cooperated with McLeod and escorted him to Swinyard’s floor, according to the letter. The building manager said her cooperation is “likely what kept her alive,” KUSA reported.
In McLeod’s second novel, which also features a character named Lyndon, he names “Alicia Cardenas” as a victim, the AP reported. The book also mentioned Sol Tribe, the tattoo shop she owned.
The book also mentions the tattoo shop she owned, Sol Tribe.
Denver police said they were aware of the books, adding they are part of the ongoing investigation, Schepman told reporters. Denver police Chief Paul Pazen on Tuesday would not confirm McLeod’s pen name, but the Post confirmed the pen name through an acquaintance of McLeod’s.
In a blog post about his writings, McLeod said he mixed fictional and real characters to “blur the line between what is and what is possible,” according to the Post. His books include disclaimers that say events depicted are fictional.
In a statement Monday, McLeod’s family said they were devastated by his actions, the Post reported.
“Our family has been estranged for a number of years; we lost our son and brother years ago,” the statement read. “We mourn the loss of life and injuries caused by this horrendous crime. Anytime someone loses their life to gun violence it is a tragedy. The losses Monday are evidence of the deep need for a system geared toward helping mentally-ill individuals.”