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Neighbor says Hanover suspect shot family member before setting his own home on fire

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- Joe Vargas lives a few houses down from the scene of a shooting Saturday morning. He spoke exclusively with 13 Investigates about what he and other family members witnessed.

"He shot her there on the ground. He went and got in his truck and burned his house down and stuff," Vargas said.

Vargas tells 13 Investigates the suspect, Christopher Leonard, allegedly used his vehicle to ram the family member into a fence. He says Leonard shot them before driving over to his own house and setting it on fire with children nearby.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office says the shooting occurred Saturday morning near the 6100 Chaps View near Hanover, a few miles west of I-25 between Fountain and Pueblo.

"Pretty freaked out because out here we all know for a fact that cops or firetrucks or anything like that, it takes so long to get out here that 99.9% of the time we help our own out here," Vargas said.

Vargas said Leonard allegedly shooting a family member is unlike him. He said he is known for building up the small, desolate community over the years.

"He's put a lot of this community together out here. It's kind of surprising that he even did what he did because he's one of the guys that put mostly all of the houses together and a lot of mobile homes and stuff like that all set up," Vargas said. "He built most of the roads and everything so I was kind of amazed. Pretty quiet, pretty nice guy."

Saturday's violence has not changed Vargas' view of the community, a community he has called home for six to seven years.

"I live out here because look how quiet and peaceful it is," Vargas said.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office reported that Leonard had been found as of 3:43 p.m. They have not released any further details about where exactly he was found.

It is also unclear if Leonard has been charged with any crime related to Saturday's events. Multiple attempts by 13 Investigates to contact the El Paso County Sheriff's Office and learn more about the investigation have gone unanswered.

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Sean Rice

Sean is a reporter based out of Pueblo for KRDO. Learn more about him here.


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