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Suspect in Colorado Walmart shooting has court date

This Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 photo released by the Thornton Police Department shows Scott Ostrem, suspected of fatally shooting several people inside a Thornton, Colo., Walmart Wednesday night. He was arrested 14 hours following a brief car chase that ended at a congested intersection, police said. (Thornton Police Department via AP)

THORNTON, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado man suspected of fatally shooting three people inside a suburban Denver Walmart is due to make his first court appearance Friday.

Scott Ostrem, 47, appears in Adams County District Court to hear what charges he is facing. He is not required to enter a plea at the advisement hearing.

Police say Ostrem is suspected of walking into the Walmart in Thornton, a large blue-collar suburb about 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of Denver, and fatally shooting two men and a woman late Wednesday.

He fled from the scene and was arrested early Thursday after a brief car chase near his apartment, which is located about 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the store.

A Walmart spokesman said Friday that company officials had yet to determine when the store will reopen.

Police have released very little information about Ostrem, who abruptly left his job hours before the attack. Neighbors described him as loner who often seemed angry. A supervisor at a roofing company where Ostrem worked before abruptly walking off the job hours before the attack described him as a quiet and talented worker

Killed were Pamela Marques, 52, of Denver; Carlos Moreno, 66, of Thornton; and Victor Vasquez, 26, of Denver.

None were Walmart employees, and all were Hispanic.

Ostrem is white. Police offered no possible motive for the shooting other than to say there was nothing to suggest it was related to terrorism.

Residents of the Samuel Park Apartments building where Ostrem lived described him as a rude man who kept to himself.

“He didn’t seem to have anybody,” said Teresa Muniz, one of his neighbors. “Being angry all the time. That’s what he seemed like, always angry.”

“We didn’t even know his name ’til today,” she said.

Muniz said most of the building’s tenants talk to each other, but Ostrem never returned her greetings and swore at people for leaving laundry in communal machines. She also said she sometimes saw Ostrem carrying a shotgun or a bow and set of arrows to and from the building, which faces the back side of a liquor store, a dollar store and a cellphone store.

A Facebook profile that appears to belong to Ostrem lists only one friend, a woman who is from Thornton and who has since moved to Florida.

Little else is publicly known about Ostrem, who police say nonchalantly walked into the Walmart and opened fire, sending dozens of shoppers and workers fleeing in a panic from the busy store.

The morning of the shooting, he left his work station without any explanation and never came back, said David Heidt, his boss at B&M Roofing.

Heidt said Ostrem worked in the company’s metal fabrication shop for the last three years without any problems, and he was a good and quiet worker who was skilled at his craft of making metal flashing for roofs.

“We’re all bewildered as to where we are now,” Heidt said.

Ostrem recently ran into financial problems.

In September 2015, Ostrem filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and listed his income for the previous year as $47,028. He estimated that he owed more than $85,000 including credit card debt.

Ostrem had worked for another roofing company in Denver until 2014, said Sandra Runyon, an administrative assistant at Tecta America Colorado Commercial Roofing.

There was no evidence Ostrem had ever worked for Walmart, spokesman Ragan Dickens said.

Ostrem had minor run-ins with police dating back to the 1990s, including a December 1999 charge of resisting arrest in Denver that was dismissed the following year.

He bounced from job to job and has been tied to at least 11 street addresses, including six apartments, in the Denver metro area since 1991.


Associated Press writers Tatiana Flowers, Nicholas Riccardi, Thomas Peipert, Dan Elliott and Colleen Slevin contributed to this report.