‘Madman’ With Semiautomatic Kills Two, Rapes Two Before Killing Himself
LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) _ A man with an insatiable appetite for cocaine killed two women with a semiautomatic gun and wounded two deputies and a hostage before killing himself during 10 hours of rape and terror, authorities said.
Eugene Thompson Jr., 20, of Littleton, was armed with a MAC-11 assault pistol when he broke into a woman’s suburban Denver house early Thursday and began his crime spree.
The rampage, during which he raped two women, ended in a gunbattle at a townhouse as 100 officers searched house-to-house for him.
Thompson opened fire on the two officers who burst into the townhouse, hitting one in the chest and neck and the other in the leg, authorities said. He then shot 18-year-old Jake Carper four times in the back, went upstairs and shot himself in the head.
″A madman, it appears, is what we have,″ said Douglas County Sheriff Steve Zotos. ″We were hoping it wouldn’t end this way, but I don’t know of any other way it could have ended. There is just no reason to this whole thing.″
Thompson died at a hospital three hours after he shot himself.
Carper, who lives in the townhouse, was listed in critical but stable condition today.
Arapahoe County Deputy Arthur L. Hilton, 37, was in serious condition with wounds to the chest. Deputy Daniel Thomas, 36, was released after treatment.
Thompson, a suspect in at least 140 thefts and burglaries, was wanted on arrest warrants that were issued Monday for his failure to appear in Golden District Court for probation revocation, authorities said.
He had been enrolled in a cocaine residence treatment program as part of his probation for thefts but was kicked out after being caught stealing, said Eugene Strauber, regional vice president of the Cenikor Foundation cocaine residence treatment program in the Denver suburb of Lakewood.
″He had an appetite for drugs - mostly for cocaine - that he couldn’t keep up with,″ said Lakewood police Detective George McGlynn. ″And that’s what led to this.″
It wasn’t known if Thompson was on drugs during his rampage - an autopsy was pending. But Douglas County Sheriff’s Lt. Bill Walker said, ″We know he had been using cocaine heavily in recent weeks.″
Early today, officials from the Denver Police Department and the Jefferson, Arapahoe and Douglas County sheriff’s departments met in an attempt to reconstruct the past three or four days of Thompson’s life.
″We want to check to make sure he was the only one involved,″ said Arapahoe County Undersheriff Darold Sloan. ″Right now, it appears to be a one-person episode.″
Sloan said all four agencies knew Thompson because of his extensive criminal background but said it was too early to say whether he should have been in jail. ″We don’t know if the system broke down or not. We can’t decide that at this time,″ he said.
The trouble began around 5 a.m. when Thompson broke into 47-year-old Beverly Swartz’s house in Littleton, authorities said. She called for help, but hung up before she could give her address. Authorities traced the call but when they arrived she and her car were gone. Her husband, Ralph, summoned from work, arrived at the house and was talking with investigators when the telephone rang.
It was his father, Oscar Swartz, calling for help.
Thompson had driven the woman to her in-law’s home outside Littleton, broke in at gunpoint and tied up the three - Beverly, Oscar and his 68-year-old wife, Janice.
″He raped the younger woman downstairs, then executed her,″ Sheriff Zotos said. ″Then he executed the older one upstairs.″
Thompson then stole a car, and drove about 10 miles to Douglas County south of Denver, where he broke into a house, held a man, woman and child at gunpoint and raped the woman, Zotos said.
About 30 minutes after leaving the house, he crashed a stolen car into a fence and fled, setting off the manhunt.
During their search, police warned schools to lock their doors, and told residents to stay inside. About 25,000 school children were kept in their classes.
″What do you do if the crazy guy busts in the school? And I don’t know how to answer it. It’s a shame it’s got to a point in our society where we’ve got to worry about this,″ said Bob Dye, Dry Creek Elementary School principal.
Officers tracked Thompson to Littleton, where he broke into Carper’s house and shot him and the officers.
″All (Carper) said was, ’Jesus Christ 3/8 Jesus Christ 3/8 He shot me and then went upstairs and shot himself,‴ Arapahoe County Sheriff Pat Sullivan said.
The MAC-11 is a semiautomatic weapon that can be purchased over-the- counter. Sullivan said there was evidence the weapon had been modified to be fully automatic. He said the gun fires 32 rounds and only five were left when the gun was finally recovered.
A day before his deputies were wounded, Sullivan lashed out at the sales of semiautomatic weapons in a nine-page position paper for the state Legislature.
″Everything I say in this position paper is true. Our officers are out- gunned by these weapons of war. These guns are designed to kill and maim people,″ he said.