A prison parolee demanding a plane to Libya grabbed about 20 hostages in a restaurant, killing one before he was fatally shot by police, who accidentally killed another hostage, officials said Wednesday.
Wayne Strozzi also wounded two officers before he died at McKee Medical Center of gunshot wounds to the head and abdomen late Tuesday, authorities said.Strozzi, recently paroled from the state prison in Canon City, first assaulted his girlfriend at her apartment here. Police followed him and chased him on foot to the Riverhouse Restaurant, said police Sgt. Ray Miller.
At the restaurant, Strozzi held about 20 patrons and staff at gun-point for about an hour, demanding a plane to Libya, Miller said.
Strozzi, in his early 30s, was apparently angered that his girlfriend had begun dating another man while he was in prison, police said. He had served 21/2 years on cocaine charges.
Sally Mills, a waitress at the restaurant, and Fenton Croakshank, a customer, were killed, said Larimer County District Attorney Stu Van-Meveren.
Mills, in her 40s, was shot by Strozzi as snipers fired on the gunman, VanMeveren said. She died later at the hospital. Croakshank, 31, was killed by a police officer as the patron dove through a window in an attempt to flee, he said.
Another female hostage was treated and released for cuts on her foot caused by shattered glass, authorities said.
The trouble began at 6:45 p.m. when police in this city of 30,000 people 50 miles north of Denver responded to a disturbance at the home of Strozzi's girlfriend, who had been assaulted, Miller said.
After fleeing to his house, Strozzi was chased to the restaurant, where he took the hostages and readied a getaway car. As he walked outside holding his semi-automatic pistol to the head of diner Belva Bethel, he spotted officer Berdin in the parking lot and shot him in the shoulder.
Strozzi then pulled the woman back into the restaurant at gunpoint and started making demands.
Miller said police backed off to keep Strozzi from killing more people.
"They backed off," Miller said. "They didn't want to go in there and start a shooting spree."
At 9:05 p.m., while police were conducting the hourlong negotiations by megaphone, Strozzi shot the waitress in the chest and thighs, he said. SWAT team snipers from both departments then opened fire, shooting Strozzi at least three times in the head and abdomen. He died in surgery two hours later.