Authorities in Douglas and El Paso counties are investigating a suspected murder-suicide Wednesday that left two teens dead.
The bodies of a 17-year-old female and 18-year-old male, who was identified as Centennial resident Samuel Hoffman, were found by police Tuesday night around 7:45 p.m. inside a car south of Fountain, Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said in an afternoon news conference. The girl’s name has not been released.
Police believe Hoffman killed the teen girl between 3:15 p.m and 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in a parking lot adjacent to Mile High Academy in Highlands Ranch, where she attended school, Spurlock said. The parking lot is not school property.
Later Tuesday night, Fountain police and Colorado State Patrol troopers located Hoffman’s car south of Fountain near Interstate 25. As officers approached, they heard a single gunshot from the vehicle, Spurlock said. Hoffman had shot himself in the car.
Hoffman and the girl had been friends over a period of years, Spurlock said, adding that he did not know if they were romantically involved. Hoffman attended Littleton High School until December 2018, when he left to pursue a GED program through Littleton public schools, the sheriff’s office said in a tweet. The teen dropped out of the program in April 2019 and did not re-enroll in any other school.
Hoffman had been involved with law enforcement multiple times, Spurlock said. One instance involved a mental health hold that occurred at Mile High Academy, the sheriff said. The other involved a domestic violence incident in Aurora with a different individual.
In a statement, Mile High Academy said “it is with profound sadness” that the school confirms the loss of one of its students.
“Our hearts go out to this family,” the statement said. “We want this family to know that they are in our thoughts and prayers.”
The school added that is working closely with law enforcement and will provide grief counselors to help students, staff and families.
Spurlock said Colorado’s new Red Flag law would not have applied in this circumstance because Hoffman, at 18, cannot legally own a handgun.
“This is a horrible tragedy that we’re trying to sift through to gather as much info as possible,” Spurlock said.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case along with Douglas County and Colorado State Patrol.
Updated 5 p.m. Jan. 15, 2020 This story has been updated to correct Samuel Hoffman’s educational status. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office had provided incorrect information.