DENVER — Four Democratic members of Colorado's congressional delegation are asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate law enforcement's handling of the man accused of killing five people in a shooting spree across Denver and Lakewood last month.
Reps. Ed Perlmutter, Jason Crow, Diana DeGette and Joe Neguse sent a letter Thursday to the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice requesting an investigation into the handling of prior law enforcement encounters with the suspected gunman.
"We want to make sure that law enforcement agencies are talking to each other," Perlmutter told 9NEWS. "That they are sharing information, that they aren't just working in siloes by themselves, and that when there is a dangerous individual who's got specific people named in a writing or threats over the phone or whatever it might be, that he doesn't fall off the radar screen."
Lyndon McLeod is accused of killing five people and injuring two others in a shooting spree across Denver and Lakewood on Dec. 27. He died after exchanging gunfire with a Lakewood police officer.
"In the days following this incident, multiple news outlets reported the gunman, Lyndon McLeod, foreshadowed his plan of violence in a series of books, often in shocking specificity such as using the locations and names of people he planned to target," the letter reads in part. "It was also reported the gunman was on the radar of federal law enforcement for previous expressions of extremist views and a history of violent episodes. Additionally, the Denver Police Department investigated the gunman in 2020 and early 2021, but concluded there was not enough evidence to file charges."
"We have serious concerns regarding the sharing of information and the response of law enforcement officials and whether it was adequate, timely and thorough. The aforementioned reports are concerning, and we request your office conduct an investigation into whether law enforcement agencies were aware of the severity of the threats from the gunman, the actions taken in response to these threats including the closure of investigations, and whether information sharing among agencies was adequate," the letter continues. "It is critical we understand who knew what information and when, and how this information was shared and acted upon in order to identify and close any gaps in the information sharing process among law enforcement."
Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said the day after the shootings that McLeod had been "on the radar of law enforcement," and had been the subject of two previous law enforcement investigations in the past two years, but there had not been enough evidence to file charges in either case.
One of those investigations, according to police, was started when a man in Germany sent them a tip about McLeod in January 2021.
The man who sent the tip to DPD, Andre Thiele, told 9NEWS he first met McLeod online in 2018. A former publisher, Thiele said he was intrigued at first by “Sanction,” McLeod's trilogy of dystopian, violence-filled novels in which he named two people whom he allegedly murdered in the shooting spree – Alicia Cardenas and Michael Swinyard – and one person he attacked, his former business partner, Jeremy Costilow.
McLeod also described the crimes in great detail in the novels.
Thiele told 9NEWS he eventually saw the books and some of McLeod's online postings as signs that McLeod was capable of committing serious acts of violence, so, in January 2021, he sent Denver Police an eight-page email warning them of just that. A police detective responded to the email, telling Thiele he would contact him with any questions. Thiele said that was the last he heard from DPD.
"The Denver Department of Public Safety is conducting its own review of the January 2021 investigation into Lyndon McLeod, and will fully cooperate if the Department of Justice initiates an investigation," a Department of Public Safety spokesperson said in a statement Thursday.
A law enforcement source told 9Wants to Know the FBI handled the other investigation, in 2020. No details about that investigation have been released.
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