Denver gunman, 47, who killed five wrote novel using pseudonym about tattoo parlor rampage and ranted online about masculine supremacy: Police release footage of him on spree and say he ‘targeted’ victims
The Denver gunman who shot and killed five people on Monday night, several of them connected to the tattoo industry, had self-published a novel in which a character with his name murders people at tattoo parlors as an act of revenge against the world.
Lyndon McLeod, 47, a known extremist with psychiatric problems and violent material on his social media, was killed by police on Monday at the end of his rampage across Denver.
From 2018 to 2020 he self-published a series of novels online, under the pseudonym Roman McClay.
One of the books features a character named Lyndon McLeod who opens fire on a tattoo parlor in downtown Denver.
In the story, McLeod the character goes on a six-month killing rampage, killing 46 people who had wronged him throughout his life.
One of his stories also featured a character who carried out a murder at an apartment complex – similar to the site of one of the shootings.
His Instagram and Twitter accounts show he harbored misogynistic hatred, and reveled in alt-right conspiracy theories.
McLeod quoted characters and lines from his books to comment on current events, such as a COVID misinformation meme on Twitter featuring Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft founder Bill Gates discussing ‘an injectable nanoworm’.
Lyndon McLeod, who killed five people in Denver on Monday night, is seen with a bear he apparently shot and killed, in a photo he posted on Twitter. His social media was full of guns and extremist ideology
Lyndon McLeod is seen in a YouTube video from 2020, discussing the books he wrote under the pseudonym Roman McClay. An online reviewer said the self-published books ‘give full vent to their sexism, racism, and every other -ism kept out of mainstream discourse’
McLeod had come on to the radar of police in 2020 and 2021, Denver police chief said, but no charges were ever filed. He did not say why there was concern
McLeod can be seen to the left of the screen walking into the Lucky 13 tattoo parlor and carrying a rifle. He leaves less than 10 seconds later, having killed Danny Scofield
He first killed two women working in a tattoo parlor, then shot dead a man in a home. He went to the site of his former business in downtown Denver, Flat Black Ink Corp – which is listed as the publisher of his novels – and opened fire, but no one was injured.
McLeod crossed town to a second tattoo parlor, in the Lakewood area, and killed his fourth victim – walking calmly in to the store and opening fire, then driving off 10 seconds later.
Finally he went to the Hyatt House hotel and killed a clerk, before being shot dead by police.
McLeod, who lived in a shipping container up a mountain, glorifying in a life free of women and full of ‘books, guns and meat’, had Flat Black Ink declared bankrupt in 2017.
McLeod has in recent years taken to living in a shipping container up a mountain
McLeod said he was surrounded by ‘books, guns and meat’ and none of the ‘modern bulls***’ that came with women
McLeod frequently professed his love of guns, captioning this image with a Hunter S. Thompson quote: ‘I swore I’d never go unarmed again’
McLeod posted multiple pictures of his guns to social media
His books, he said, were his ‘art’ and a creative outlet.
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One online review described the trilogy as ‘an epic, visceral journey into the dark heart of every man broken by society.’
Another reviewer said the characters ‘give full vent to their sexism, racism, and every other -ism kept out of mainstream discourse,’ according to The Denver Post.
McLeod, in a 2020 interview on YouTube – now taken down – said the book was about ‘our masculinity and the way we interact,’ looking at religion, genetics and culture.
He described it on Twitter, in an account dormant since June 2020, as: ‘The book that philosophizes with a Jack-Hammer.’
‘I tend to look at the world in threes. I’ll look at the world currently, then the world below it and the world above it,’ he said in the YouTube interview in March 2020.
‘You have the terrestrial plane, then the sub level, then the atmosphere.’
McLeod added: ‘I consider myself an artist first, and then a man interested in ideas and culture second.’
McLeod, in 2020, ranted on Twitter about emasculated men, and praised boxer Mike Tyson as a role model.
He also quoted Donald Trump as saying: ‘You have to dominate. If you don’t dominate, you’re wasting your time.’
McLeod said: ‘Our entire society is made up of sh**** little f**** who insult badasses & get away with it because law enforcement & social norms protect the WEAK from the STRONG,’ he tweeted.
‘I’m over it.
‘The weak better buckle up… s*** is about to get real.’
In another tweet, he posted what appeared to be a quote from his book.
‘The only thing that can save America is a [Pinochet] purge in which we empirically assess the stupidest shit said on [MsNBC] every week & then execute the offender by [Helicopter]: a restoration of the American intellect in under a decade,’ Isaiah said.’
McLeod also posted a quotes from Donald Trump, in which he urged ‘domination’
McLeod posted on Twitter copies of his book beside his rifle and a face mask
McLeod, 47, relished the idea of himself living amid the elements
He promoted the book on Instagram, with an image of skulls and bullets
Four of his five victims have been named.
The first he killed were Alicia Cardenas, 44, the owner of Sol Tribe tattoo shop, and her employee Alyssa Gunn Maldonado, 35.
Her husband, Jimmy Maldonado, was injured.
McLeod then shot an unnamed man inside a home.
He then opened fire at the former premises of his company, Flat Black Ink, before being stopped by police and exchanging gunfire – which disabled the patrol car.
McLeod continued his murderous rampage, driving up to the Lucky 13 tattoo parlor and killing Danny Scofield, 38.
Finally he shot and killed Sarah Steck, a 28-year-old clerk at the Hyatt House hotel.
Steck is the only one of the five who were not known to McLeod, police said, although he did have a connection to the hotel itself.
The others were targeted, according to Denver police.
Denver police Cmdr. Matt Clark said the shootings don’t appear to be random.
‘It does appear that the offender was targeting specific people in this case,’ Clark said.
‘The victims were known to the offender.’
Mcleod had a business or personal relationship with the victims, authorities said. The suspect was linked to the Hyatt House hotel, but wasn’t necessarily acquainted with Steck.
‘There was previous interactions with that hotel,’ Clark said, ‘not necessarily that clerk.’
Alicia Cardenas, 44, the owner of Sol Tribe tattoo shop on Denver, was named by friends on social media as one of the five people who were killed in Monday’s shooting spree
Cardenas (left and right) was described as a pillar of Denver’s tattoo community. She is survived by a 12-year-old daughter
Alyssa Gunn Maldonado, 35 (right), was shot dead inside Cardenas’ shop. Her husband, Jimmy Maldonado, was said to have suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the chest
Jimmy and Alyssa Gunn Maldonado married in February 2020. They have a son together
Danny Scofield, 38 (right), a tattoo artist at Lucky 13 Tattoo and Piercing in Lakewood, was shot and killed during the rampage
Sarah Steck, 28, was the fifth person to be killed McLeod, and the only one he is not believed to know – although he was familiar with her workplace, the Hyatt House hotel
Flowers are left on Tuesday outside the Sol Tribe tattoo parlor, where Cardenas and Gunn Maldonado were killed
McLeod was shot and killed by police shortly after he killed Steck.
McLeod shot a female officer in the abdomen, but she returned fire and killed him.
She was wearing body armor and is expected to make a full recovery, said John Romero, spokesman for Lakewood police.
Police are yet to formally determine a motive for the rampage, although a tattoo industry connection seems likely.
The owner of a tattoo studio operating from the site of Flat Black Ink said he purchased the place from Alicia Cardenas.
Ian Lutz, owner of World Tattoo Studio said he had never heard of McLeod before he was identified by police as the shooter.
‘Yeah, I have no prior knowledge of really the history of the shop before my owning it. I know that Alicia owned it and it was sort of a secondary Sol Tribe,’ Lütz told USA TODAY.
‘That’s about all I know about the history of it.
‘I’ve had the shop for about four-and-a-half years now.’
Denver police said McLeod was on their radar in 2020 and 2021, but he was never charged.
He had sold his home in Denver around five years ago to Gabriel Thorn, Thorn told The Denver Gazette.
Thorn said the Denver Police Department raided his home about a month after he moved in for a ‘suspected marijuana grow (McLeod) had been running in this little room in our garage,’ he said.
Paul Pazen, chief of Denver police, would not be drawn on what they knew about McLeod, who he described as having a history of extremism.
‘This is not an unknown party to us,’ Pazen said.