Denver hasn't exactly been bloodshed free of late. Note the shocking murders of Sergeant Anthony Silva and onetime medical marijuana dispensary owner Michael "SK" Walker in recent weeks. But the body count is higher in Colorado Springs, where four are dead in two separate incidents prompting searches for suspects Michael Arangio and Ernest Schmidt.
At 10:21 p.m. on Wednesday, Colorado Springs Police officers received a flurry of calls about a shooting near 5200 Mira Loma Circle. Waiting for them were three teenage victims: sixteen-year-old Austin Howse, plus brothers Aaron and Wayne Fix, ages sixteen and nineteen, respectively. Two had already succumbed to their wounds, while the third was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
Shortly thereafter, cops began to narrow in on Michael Arangio, 24, who, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette, had been busted in May on suspicion of felony menacing with a simulated or real weapon.
No doubt about the reality of the guns that took the lives of the Wayne, father of a two-year-old, and longtime friends Aaron and Austin -- and no question, either, about the effort the CSPD is putting in to finding Arangio. The Gazette reports that cops have already raided two houses associated with him in the past, only to come up empty. He's described as a five-feet-eight-inch, 140 pound white male with brown hair and green eyes who may be driving a 2002 Nissan Xterra with the Colorado plate number 831-OLZ.
Yes, Arangio is considered armed and dangerous. Here's a larger look at his most recent booking photo:
The triple homicide occurred a couple hours after another high-profile slaying. Just past 8 p.m. on Wednesday, the CSPD was dispatched to an AutoZone at 5792 Palmer Park Boulevard. There, they found a dead man who has not yet been identified, as well as another gunshot wound victim inside the business, who's said to be recovering.
The cops maintain that the suspected shooter, Ernest Schmidt, age sixty, made his getaway in a carjacked vehicle he subsequently dumped. The Gazette describes Schmidt, who also uses the alias Edward Coffey and has been known to claim he's just 46, as a "career thief" who's served jail time in four states since 1983. A SWAT team raided a residence associated with him on Thursday, even firing tear-gas canisters as part of the assault. But he remains at large. Anyone with info in either case is encouraged to phone 719-444-7000 or Crime Stoppers at 719-634-STOP (7867).
Look below to see a photo of Schmidt, as well as a Fox21 video showing the massive police response at the AutoZone -- one staged little knowing that more victims would die at another location before the night was out.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Man threatens to stab cupcake store employees using syringe filled with AIDS-infected blood."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.