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Colorado Springs campus remembers musician and mother killed in dorm shooting

UCCS student Nicholas Jordan, 25, was arrested in connection with the murders of Samuel Knopp and Celie Montgomery

Sheila Flynn
in Parker, Colorado
Tuesday 20 February 2024 23:36 GMT

Friends, fellow students and neighbours of Colorado Springs dorm victims Samuel Knopp and Celie Rain Montgomery were on Monday processing news of an arrest in connection with their murders – while already reeling from recent tragedies.

Knopp, 24, and Montgomery, 26, were found shot dead on Friday in a dormitory room at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, where Knopp was a senior studying music in the Visual and Performing Arts department. Another UCCS student, 25-year-old Nicholas Jordan of Detroit, was arrested Monday morning with a warrant for two counts of first-degree murder, police said.

Officials revealed that Mr Jordan was Mr Knopp’s roommate at the time of the shooting. The shooter is currently being held in El Paso County Jail on a $1m bond. His first court date was set for Tuesday at 1.30pm MST.

More details about the relationship between the trio nor a motive has been disclosed. Ms Montgomery, who was not enrolled at the university, was a mother of two young children from Pueblo.

Classes were cancelled Monday at UCCS as the community held a “healing walk” beginning at a campus dining hall. In a statement following news of the shootings, Chancellor Jennifer Sobanet acknowledged that it had “been a difficult week with the loss of Mia Brown, another beloved student, on Monday.”

The senior, a nursing student, died 12 February on campus “following a medical emergency at the Recreation Center,” school officials said.

Then, four days later, Knopp and Montgomery were found fatally shot at Crestone House in the Alpine Village area of student residential housing. The Colorado Springs Police Department quickly said the victims were believed to have known the suspect, emphasizing it was “not a random attack against the school or other students at the university.”

Mr Knopp, described by the UCCS chancellor as “an accomplished guitar player and an extremely talented musician,” grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, according to his social media profiles and bio on a website offering at-home music lessons.

“He began his musical journey at age 8 with the viola, playing in his school’s orchestra for 6 years,” the Lessons In Your Home profile states. “When Sam turned 17 and moved to Colorado, he fell in love with the guitar, practicing for countless hours and days and gained much more of an appreciation for music.”

Sam Knopp performing (YouTube)

Knopp’s guitar skills were showcased during his junior recital last year, featured in a YouTube video posted by the university’s music program.

“He is currently working on his bachelors degree in music theory at the University of Colorado,” Knopp’s teacher profile continues. “When it comes to performing, Sam usually enjoys playing mostly classical guitar and lead electric guitar as well as a good amount of improvisation with many different genres.”

Knopp was listed as a teacher in the Denver area; his parents’ home in Parker is just beyond the Colorado capital’s metro region. The family moved west from Michigan with the budding guitarist and his twin sister more than a decade ago.

Neighbours remained in shock on Monday, as news of the student’s death came just weeks after a horrific murder-suicide just a few doors down from the Knopp residence.

Investigators later revealed that a 38-year-old man was believed to have shot dead a 43-year-old woman before driving from the scene with a child to a second location about five miles away, killing the boy and then turning the gun on himself.

Back at the UCCS campus on Monday, therapy dogs and counselling were also available to members of the university community. Multiple first responder agencies also joined in the healing walk as Colorado Springs – where a shooter killed five and injured more than 20 others in an LGBTQ+ nightclub attack 15 months ago – continues to reel from innocent victims killed by gun violence.

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