At least five people are dead and two injured after a fascist gunman went on what police described as an hour-long “killing spree” that began in Denver, Colorado, this past Monday evening. Denver Chief of Police Paul Pazen revealed Tuesday night that the shooter was 47-year-old neo-Nazi Lyndon McLeod and that he had been previously investigated by law enforcement in 2020 and 2021.
According to police accounts, McLeod began his deadly rampage shortly after 5 p.m. at the Sol Tribe Tattoo parlor, where he shot three people, killing two women and injuring one man. Over the next hour McLeod is believed to have fired his M4 military-style assault rifle at eight different locations in the Denver area before engaging in a shootout with police that left him dead sometime after 6 p.m.
McLeod foreshadowed his crimes in series of books/fascist manifestos he wrote in 2018-2020 under the name Roman McClay. In the books, titled Sanction I-III, McLeod directly named two of persons he murdered Monday: Alicia Cardenas, 44, and Michael Swinyard, 67. Despite a history of issuing violent death threats, McLeod was allowed to amass military-grade weaponry and crisscross downtown Denver for an hour before being killed by police.
Cardenas was the owner of the Sol Tribe Tattoo shop where she and 35-year-old Alyssa Gunn were shot and killed. After murdering the unarmed women, police claim McLeod forced his way inside a nearby home, which was also a business, where he chased the occupants while opening fire. However, no one was injured. McLeod then broke into Swinyard’s home and killed him.
Shortly after McLeod murdered Swinyard, police claim they engaged in a shootout with McLeod, who managed to escape in a black van. Just before 6 p.m., Lakewood police received a report of a shooting at Lucy 13 tattoo shop, where McLeod’s fourth victim, 38-year-old Danny Schofield, was killed.
McLeod engaged in another shootout with police shortly afterward, escaping on foot to a nearby Hyatt House hotel where he briefly spoke to hotel clerk, 28-year-old Sarah Steck. Police claim Steck was unknown to McLeod before he shot and killed her, although reports indicate he had had a problem with the hotel.
There is no doubt that McLeod’s rampage was premeditated. Throughout his novels, the main protagonist, who shares his name, fantasizes about “shooting communists” and murdering “leftists as they slept.”
In the first book, a character named “Lyndon MacLeod” dons police gear and kills a character named “Michael Swinyard” at his apartment located on Williams Street. On Wednesday, the Denver Post reported that police believe McLeod “killed Swinyard inside his home at One Cheesman Place, an apartment building in the 1200 block of Williams Street.”
The Post noted that a property manager told residents in an email that McLeod “wore tactical gear, a police logo and a badge when he entered the building.”
In his second book, McLeod named Cardenas as a murder victim, describing in detail an attack on a tattoo parlor perpetrated by a “Lyndon MacLeod,” who ends up murdering 46 people throughout the novels while railing against diversity, globalization, “weak men” and “unchaste women.”
McLeod frequently promoted his fascist filth on social media, quoting from it while replying to far-right commentators/political operatives he followed on Twitter such as Mark Cernovich, Jack Posobiec and Andy Ngo. In a 2019 Twitter post, Posobiec, a neo-Nazi and avid Trump supporter, asked his followers if he should read McLeod’s Sanction .
The cover of the book, which was still being sold on Amazon as of Wednesday morning, features animal skulls, bullets and Nordic runes and esoteric symbols used by the Nazi Schutzstaffel (SS). The most prominent symbol on the cover of Sanction I is the Wolfsangel or “wolf hook,” which the Nazi party adopted in the 1920s and was widely used by SS units throughout World War II. On the back cover of the book, McLeod describes himself as “96% Norse-Scot 4% Neanderthal.”
In a June 3, 2020, Twitter post, McLeod, posting under his pen name @mcclay_roman, shared a quotation from his book and another from Donald Trump in which the latter warned governors that they need to “dominate” anti-police violence protesters in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.
In words that bear a striking resemblance to Trump’s speech outside the White House on January 6, 2021, McLeod wrote that “our” side “is going to have to get tough & mean or we will lose. … War is here. It’s physical. It ain’t online.” McLeod added Trump’s quotation to his tweet, which read: “You have to dominate. If you don’t dominate you are wasting your time. They’re going to run over you. You’re going to look like a bunch of jerks. You have to dominate.”
Denver Chief of Police Pazen confirmed that McLeod had been previously investigated by police in “mid-2020 and 2021” and that he was “on the radar of law enforcement.” Police have refused to explain the nature of the previous investigations. However, social media postings indicate McLeod threatened to “murder” another far-right associate’s “wife and children,” prompting a visit from the FBI.
Posting under an alternate account @JackThree6 on June 16, 2020, McLeod uploaded a photo of himself shaking hands with an FBI agent following the visit.
While police carefully manage the flow of information in an attempt to cover up their inability to prevent a known violent fascist from carrying out a mass killing, Los Angeles-based cybersecurity expert and antifascist Chad Loder uncovered evidence that McLeod was arrested by the Denver Sheriff Department in 2012 on two charges of menacing with a deadly weapon.
Despite being the 21st most populous state in the US, Colorado has been home to a disproportionate amount of mass shootings, with Monday’s massacre being at least the seventh “mass shooting” since 1993, the fifth most in the country. A mass shooting is defined as an event where four or more people are killed, and after Monday’s killings, some 48 people had been killed in mass shootings in Colorado since 1993, including the Columbine shooting in Littleton in 1999 and this year’s King Soopers shooting in Boulder that left 10 people dead.
So far this year, the Gun Violence Archive, using the same parameters as above, has tracked 687 mass shootings in the US, or just under two a day. As of this writing, 44,488 people have been killed by guns this year, with another 40,109 injured.