DENVER – Denver police received a tip in January 2021 from someone who cited concerns about that the man responsible for shooting and killing five people in Denver and Lakewood last week but decided at the time criminal charges were not warranted.
The Denver Police Department on Tuesday night confirmed portions of a report by The Denver Post that said a German man contacted Denver 311 and the FBI warning that Lyndon McLeod “may commit a terrorist attack.” The department is now reviewing its initial investigation.
The Denver Post’s Elise Schmelzer spoke with the German man, Andre Thiele, who said he had read McLeod’s books and had been in a chatroom with him and had grown concerned about some of the statements he was making.
McLeod had self-published writings under the pen name “Roman McLay” whose main character’s name was close to his own real name, and whose writings talked about far-right and extremist views surrounding gender and murder. Some of the people targeted were also named in the writings.
McLeod had previously owned a tattoo business in Denver called Flat Black Ink, and his victims included several tattoo artists and shop owners. According to police, he killed Alicia Cardenas, Alyssa Gunn-Maldonado, Michael Swinyard, Danny Scofield and Sarah Steck in Denver and Lakewood, and shot Lakewood Police Agent Ashley Ferris, who in turn shot and killed McLeod.
A Denver police spokesperson previously confirmed McLeod had twice been investigated in the past – one time in mid-2020 and again in early 2021 – but they provided few details about the investigations, only saying they did not lead to criminal charges.
The Denver Post reported Tuesday that Thiele was contacted by a DPD detective on Jan. 4, 2021, who said he would look into the tip. Thiele said McLeod’s writings “could be read as an extremist right-wing manifesto and a terrorist prophecy,” according to the report, which added that the detective said he would reach back out with any further questions.
Doug Schepman, a spokesperson for the Denver Police Department, confirmed in an email Tuesday night that police had indeed gotten a tip from someone in Germany “citing several concerns involving Lyndon McLeod.”
Schepman said that one element of the tip was “possible theft/fraud involving a potential victim outside of Colorado.”
“At the time this tip was received, DPD could not link McLeod to a Denver address provided in the tip and had no reason to believe he was living in Denver. A Denver Police investigator contacted the potential theft-fraud victim out of state and no Denver connection was established to the alleged crime,” Schepman said.
The police department is now reviewing that investigation, Schepman said.
“But based on our initial review, there was not sufficient evidence to file criminal charges or a legal basis for monitoring McLeod at the time,” he added.