November 4, 2017 / 4:03 AM / 15 days ago

Colorado Walmart shooting suspect makes first court appearance

BRIGHTON, Colo. (Reuters) - The Colorado man arrested for fatally shooting three people in a Walmart in suburban Denver made his initial court appearance on Friday.

Scott Ostrem, 47, is pictured in this undated handout booking photo obtained by Reuters November 2, 2017. Thornton Police Department/Handout via Reuters

Scott Ostrem, 47, was captured on Thursday, the day after he “nonchalantly” entered the Thornton, Colorado, Walmart and opened fire on shoppers and employees shortly after 6 p.m. MDT (midnight GMT), police said. Thornton is about 10 miles (16 km) northeast of downtown Denver.

Wearing a light blue jail jumpsuit and faded red flip flops, Ostrem, in handcuffs and shackles, said yes four times when Judge Ted Tow asked if he understood his rights during the 10-minute hearing at the Adams County District Court in Brighton, Colorado.

The judge ordered that Ostrem continue to be held without bond in the Adams County jail.

Formal filing of charges will be made at the next hearing on Monday. Adams County District Attorney Dave Young said “multiple counts” would be filed. He declined to discuss specifics of the case, but said he had met with victims’ families after the hearing.

“They are all shattered and in shock,” he said.

Tow denied a request by Ostrem’s attorney, public defender Emily Fleischmann, to have police again close off the Walmart store where the shooting occurred to prevent the destruction of evidence, saying he lacked the authority to order that.

The store has not reopened, said Fleischmann, who did not speak to reporters after the hearing.

Two men were killed in the shooting and a woman who was shot died at a local hospital, police said. No one else was wounded. The victims were identified as Pamela Marques, 52, Carlos Moreno, 66 and Victor Vasquez, 26.

Moreno’s family attended the hearing. They were carrying a sign that read “#Justice4CarlosMoreno,” but it was not allowed in the courtroom. They declined to talk to reporters.

Police said they have yet to establish a motive for the rampage and that Ostrem had only “a minimal criminal history.”

Early accounts of multiple casualties revived painful memories for the Denver area. In 2012, a gunman killed 12 people at a midnight screening of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises” at a theater in the suburb of Aurora. The shooter, James Holmes, is serving a dozen consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.

In 1999, two 12th-graders fatally shot 12 fellow students and a teacher at Columbine High School in suburban Jefferson County. The pair, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, then committed suicide in the campus library.

Reporting by Keith Coffman in Brighton, Colorado; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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