Update: The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office has released surveillance footage and photos of Kristin and Candice Hermeler, Australian twins who acted out a suicide pact at the Family Shooting Center; Kristin died, while Candice was gravely wounded but survived. The footage certainly gives no indication of what was to follow. Most of the images are disturbing in their banality.
Below, find the surveillance video, courtesy of 9News, followed by a variety of photos snipped from the clips by Fox 31 and our previous coverage of this tragedy. Also get more information in this post: "Candice & Kristin Hermeler: Judy Brown on Columbine tie to Australian twins' suicide pact."
Update, November 19, 5:01 p.m.: This afternoon, the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office not only confirmed reports that the twin Australian sisters who acted out a suicide pact at Family Shooting Center were Candice and Kristin Hermeler, but also revealed which of the pair died, and which survived a gunshot to the head. Dead is Kristin Hermeler, while Candice remains hospitalized. Look below to see our previous coverage.
Update, November 19, 8:09 a.m.: How much more disturbing can the story of the Family Shooting Center suicide pact get? Hard to say -- but the information that's emerging is unsettling in the extreme. Plenty of media organizations, including Fox 31, are identifying the Australian twins who tried to kill each other, with one succeeding, as Candace and Kristen Hermeler -- and evidence has surfaced suggesting that they had an interest in the 1999 Columbine High School massacre.
In their hotel room, Fox 31 reports, "investigators found magazine articles, news clippings and letters related to the 1999 high school shooting, including a photocopy of a magazine cover story about the suspects in the Columbine case, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold."
But in her interview with investigators, the surviving twin, who still hasn't been specifically identified, grew frustrated at the mention of Columbine, and the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office has found no drawings, schematics or other evidence that they had considered a similar mass killing spree.
Here's the latest Fox 31 report. Find our previous coverage below:
Update, November 18, 1:23 p.m.: The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office has just confirmed that the incident at the Family Shooting Center involving twin sisters from Australia was indeed a suicide pact. This word comes from the surviving woman.
The ACSO still isn't releasing names -- but it is making a strong anti-suicide statement, on view below:
Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office release:
Cherry Creek State Park Shooting Investigation Update
On November 15, 2010, at about 2:50 p.m., Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to the shooting center within Cherry Creek State Park on the report of a multiple shooting. Further investigation into this matter revealed that 29 year old twin sisters were involved in a shooting incident. One victim was pronounced dead at the scene, the second victim was transported to an area hospital for treatment. The women had been staying in the Denver area for approximately five weeks prior to the shootings.
Members of the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office Investigation Service Area have now met with the surviving sister, who has confirmed that they had planned to commit suicide together, and did in fact shoot themselves. Based on the physical evidence collected, the surviving sister's statements, and video surveillance footage from the shooting center (which will not be released) the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office believes that this incident was indeed a suicide and attempted suicide.
Over 34,000 people in the United States succeed in taking their own life every year. There are many agencies that work tirelessly at preventing suicide and understanding the devastation it causes. If you, or someone you know, is contemplating suicide, or if you have had a loved one or friend commit suicide there is help. Two Suicide Hotline numbers you can call are 1-800 273-TALK (8255) and 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2423); or in an immediate emergency situation contact 9-1-1. The following organizations are very helpful in providing suicide prevention and survivors information: American Association of Suicidology, www.suicidology.org; American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, www.afsp.org; Survivors of Suicide, www.survivorsofsuicide.com; Livingworks, www.livingworks.net; and the Suicide Prevention Advocacy Network, www.spanusa.org.
Update, November 18, 6:53 a.m.: While the condition of the surviving Australian twin shot during a strange incident at the Family Shooting Center has reportedly improved, she's not sufficiently better enough to be questioned by authorities in regard to whether she and her sister shot each other by accident, as part of a suicide pact or in an attempt by one to murder the other.
The latest developments:
In a statement released to media organizations, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed that the twins hail from the Australian state of Victoria. Their parents are planning to come to Colorado and, according to the Denver Post story linked above, they may have to assist in identification. The sisters look so similar that local authorities can't do the job on their own.
In the meantime, the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office has put out an updated release on the case's status; the info was sent to news agencies in the U.S. and Australia, where the shootings are being followed closely. Below it, find our original coverage about this story:
Cherry Creek State Park Shooting Investigation Update
On November 15, 2010, at about 2:50 PM, Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office deputies and Fire Rescue personnel responded to the Family Shooting Center within Cherry Creek State Park, 4201 South Parker Road, on the report of a multiple shooting.
The twin sisters were the only occupants in the shooting lane when the incident occurred. The focus of the ongoing investigation is to determine if this was an intentional, or accidental, act. Positive identification of the two subjects is still pending.
Update, November 17, 7:42 a.m.: The story of twin sisters who shot each other at the Family Shooting Center gun range is getting stranger and more twisted with each passing hour. Turns out the sisters were Australians who arrived in the U.S. separately, with one scheduled to return yesterday. Moreover, authorities are reportedly having difficulty identifying which is dead and which is alive because they look so identical.
According to the Denver Post, the sisters' family was located late last night, but public identification will have to wait until after they're able to firmly establish who's who using dental records and the like. The woman who's still alive remains in critical condition from a gunshot wound to the head and is unable to communicate with investigators.
Look below to see a 9News report about developments in the case, followed by a previous update and our original item, complete with photos of the shooting range and more:
Update, November 16, 9:09 a.m.: Still no names on the women shot in this incident -- but the Denver Post is reporting that they were twins. More info in our original item below:
Original item, November 16, 7:14 a.m.: The Family Shooting Center at Cherry Creek State Park prides itself on safety -- but there's only so much staffers can do if armed visitors feel like pointing guns at each other and squeezing their respective triggers.
That's apparently what took place yesterday in an incident that left one woman dead and another taking a bullet to the head. Authorities continue to investigate whether the shooting was accidental or intentional. Photos and more details below.
The Family Shooting Center has hosted some high-profile happenings, including the 30th annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games trapshooting event. It also sponsors a trap league and presents a slew of firearms training classes described like so: "The Family Shooting Center is proud to staff NRA Certified Instructors and Coaches to provide you with the safest and highest quality instruction available. We offer a full range of courses to meet your shooting needs."
Regarding precisely what occurred yesterday afternoon between the two women in question, both age 29, range personnel tell Fox 31 in a package on view below that they didn't seem agitated upon their arrival at the center -- and while surveillance cameras failed to record the shooting itself, they did show that no third party was involved. Apparently, the women fired simultaneously, with one shot proving fatal.
Look below to see the ACSO's latest release on the incident, as well as the aforementioned Fox 31 report:
Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office release:
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On November 15, 2010, at about 2:50 PM the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office responded to the Family Shooting Center within Cherry Creek State Park, 4201 South Parker Road reference a medical assist involving two females who had been shot.
Fire Rescue personnel responded to the scene and pronounced one female victim deceased. The second female victim was transported to a local hospital for a head injury and is in stable but critical condition.
Both victims are twenty-nine years of age. The identities of the victims will not be released until next of kin have been notified.
The Sheriff's Office reviewed surveillance video which shows the incident was confined to one shooting stall. The Sheriff's Office in not actively searching for a suspect(s).
The investigation is ongoing at this time.
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