CENTENNIAL - Determined, driven, compassionate, adventurous.
Just a few words family and friends used to describe Savannah McNealy, who was shot and killed near the CSU campus in Fort Collins in the early morning hours of October 19.
McNealy was a senior art student at Colorado State University who would have graduated in December.
Hours before the deadly shooting, McNealy was celebrating her birthday, according to The Coloradoan. Police say McNealy was out socializing with a larger group Wednesday night before she and two others were shot.
On Monday more than 100 people gathered at DeKoevend Park in Centennial to honor McNealy’s memory.
Family and friends took turns speaking to the crowd, sharing personal stories. At one point Savannah’s father addressed the crowd saying he and his family “would not be paralyzed by sadness,” knowing that’s not what Savannah would have wanted.
“Definitely. Celebrate is the key word,” said lifelong family friend Melissa Cox, who flew in from Dallas for the ceremony. “Joy, and happiness and fun. Lots of colors, I don't think [Savannah] would be satisfied if there were people in quote-unquote mourning. She lived life and I think that's what she wants all of us to do, is to go out and live our life to the fullest knowing that tomorrow may be your last day.”
Police believe Michael Zamora, 30, shot McNealy and two other people before turning the gun on himself just before 2 a.m. Thursday.
On McNealy's social media account Instagram, it looks like she and Zamora were a couple.
Public records show the two shared a common address in Fort Collins. McNealy posted a photo of the two in July and she wrote, "Happy birthday, roomie."
Air Force officials identified Zamora as a staff sergeant assigned to the Francis E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming. In another Instagram photo, the couple was at the base in September with Zamora in his uniform.
In the early morning hours of October 19, another woman with McNealy was shot and is expected to recover.
Police are not identifying her to protect her privacy, but her father spoke to the public yesterday and said Megan Dierker has gone through three surgeries already and would like to thank the community for their support.
Tristian Kemp, 26, was also with the group and killed. All three had taken a rideshare to the apartment complex before they were attacked.
Kemp's aunt told 9NEWS he was an Air Force veteran working as a civilian contractor for the military. She said he was in Colorado on vacation.
"Thinking of the type of person Tris was, my brother and I, you know we were thinking that Tris was trying to protect them - the girl - because that's the type of person he is," said Rian Unpingco. "You know Tristian, he's a true gentleman and he's a peacemaker."
Police said Zamora was with the group celebrating earlier in the night. Two rifles and a handgun were found at the apartment complex and are registered to him.
According to Facebook, Kemp and Zamora were friends.
Kemp's aunt said her nephew was raised in Guam and moved to the U.S. to join the military.
"Our plan is to bring our boy home. We are working with the funeral home in Colorado and a funeral home on Guam to bring him home," said Unpingco.
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