Update: Authorities have released the name of the man shot and killed by at a Pizza Ranch restaurant on the evening of August 31, as well as the identity of the Loveland police officer who shot him to death; see our previous coverage below.
He was William Rippley, 45. The law enforcer is Officer Jennifer Hines. She's currently on administrative leave with the Loveland Police Department, as are officers Greg Harris and Jay Smith, who witnessed the shooting — standard procedure in cases like these.
In the meantime, reports have surfaced about bizarre behavior on the part of Rippley even before he made entry into the Pizza Ranch.
Among the claims: He told customers at another restaurant that a human sacrifice was in the offing.
Rippley had two separate Facebook pages, featuring portraits like this one....
...as well as the most recent shot, posted in June:
The comments under the latter include a twisted, profane exchange with a woman that includes this unedited text: "Your fuckin high bitch put the shit down for real you need to start talking out of your mouth rather then your neck all yoou fuckin Tweeters! Im so the fuck done with your species."
One of the pages identifies Rippley as a native of Loveland who graduated from Thompson Valley High School. He appears to have spent time in Seattle before returning to Colorado.
Not mentioned is a criminal record cited by 7News. His rap sheet stretches back 23 years and includes offenses such as domestic violence, harassment, obstructing police, resisting arrest and hit-and-run.
He is said to have been released from Larimer County jail on August 20, after being convicted of felony menacing.
Before heading to the Pizza Ranch on the 31st, the station reports, Rippley made a strange scene at this nearby Golden Corral restaurant.
While there, customer Tiffany Pearson said Rippley began ranting.
According to her, he announced, "Attention, everybody! I met God tonight and the Chief of Police drugged me. Look at my arm."
At that point, Pearson maintained, Rippley displayed his arm, which appeared to have blood on it, then lashed out at a woman who laughed at his outburst by demanding, "What, you think that's funny?"
Then, as he was being ejected by restaurant staffers, he reportedly shared these parting words: "Nobody's safe. Everybody needs to go home, especially women and children. There's going to be a human sacrifice tonight."
A short time later, as we've reported, Loveland police were called to an area near the Pizza Ranch on a report of a man, later ID'd as Rippley, who was throwing a bicycle into traffic.
Also floated was the possibility that Rippley was armed with a knife.
After the officers arrived, the Loveland Police Department states, Rippley rushed into the Pizza Ranch's kitchen, then grabbed a customer before all the patrons could be evacuated.
A short time later, Officer Hines fired the fatal shot.
Hines is a ten-year veteran of the LPD and has received commendations in the past.
The investigation is ongoing at this writing, and the question of whether Rippley represented an immediate threat to life and limb will undoubtedly be part of the inquiry.
The original Loveland Police Department release doesn't assert that he was holding a knife on the customer when he was shot, for example.
Look below to see the aforementioned 7News piece, followed by our previous coverage.
Original post, 5:44 a.m. September 1: A chain restaurant in a bedroom community is among the unlikelier locations for a fatal shooting.
But that's what happened at the Pizza Ranch outlet in Loveland last night.
A man who allegedly grabbed a patron at the restaurant was shot dead by a Loveland police officer.
And it all started with a bicycle tossed into traffic.
Pizza Ranch is a venerable fast-casual chain. It was founded in Hull, Iowa in 1981, with outlets in Iowa as well as Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Illinois, Montana and several other states.
The image above is the first one currently flashing on its website — a deal to purchase a CD featuring music by "many of our favorite Christian artists."
But the Loveland branch of this family friendly eatery became the setting for shocking violence.
At around 8 p.m. yesterday, Monday, August 31, Loveland Police officers were dispatched to the 3400 block of East Eisenhower Boulevard, not far from the Pizza Ranch location, 3451 Mountain Lion Drive. The area is captured in the following interactive graphic; if you have problems seeing the image, click "View on Google Maps."
The reason for the call: a man was said to be on the Eisenhower median throwing a bicycle at westbound traffic.
This assertion was soon confirmed by an off-duty Loveland police officer, who personally saw the bike-tossing.
A number of on-duty officers rushed to the scene in marked police vehicles, the LPD release continues — and when the man saw the cops, he ran into the Pizza Ranch's kitchen, with the law enforcers in hot pursuit.
"Preliminary reports indicate that the suspect was armed with at least one knife," the statement maintains.
At that point, officers are said to have tried to evacuate the restaurant's patrons and staffers — but before all of the latter could exit, the suspect allegedly grabbed one of the customers. That's when an officer fired at the man — and he hit his target.
The suspect was rushed to a nearby hospital, but he subsequently succumbed to his wounds; he hasn't been identified at this writing. The customer who'd been taken hostage wasn't hurt, and neither were any officers.
Among the journalists who responded to the scene was Kate de la Rosa of the Fort Collins Coloradoan, who tweeted a number of videos, including this one:
Representatives of Denver-based outlets, including 9News' Noel Brennan, also headed to the scene, tweeting back images like this one:
One last look at crime scene at 3451 Mountain Lion Drive in Loveland. I'm headed to police station for press conf. pic.twitter.com/FieW6R8YGS— Katie de la Rosa (@katieoftherose) September 1, 2015
In the meantime, an officer-involved-shooting investigation has been launched under the auspices of agencies that include the Loveland Police Department, the Larimer County Sheriff's Department, the Larimer County coroner's office adn the Larimer County District Attorney's office.
Presumably the questions they'll seek to answer will include: Did the suspect have a knife and did he wield it at either the officers or the customer he grabbed? It's worth noting that the Loveland Police Department release doesn't mention the weapon in the context of the hostage-taking, only stating that there were preliminary indications that the man had a knife in his possession.
Officers were still on the scene this morning — a reminder of an unsettling and deadly night at Pizza Ranch.