Colo. standoff ends with deaths of man and toddler

May 17, 2011 - 10:13 PM

FOUNTAIN, Colo. (AP) — The deaths of a man and toddler found inside a home following a six-hour standoff in Colorado are being investigated as a murder-suicide and a woman wounded while trying to escape was fighting for her life Tuesday, authorities said.

Officers found the bodies Monday night in the home in Fountain, just south of Colorado Springs, after trying unsuccessfully to contact the man. Fountain Police Chief Todd Evans said the house had been doused with gasoline, according to The Gazette.

Authorities haven't identified the two found dead, but Evans described them as a family. Authorities are waiting for autopsy results on how they died.

The woman wounded before the man barricaded himself in his home was identified as Shannon Paolini. She has worked as financial services specialist at the El Paso County Sheriff's Office since August 2007, sheriff's officials said.

Paolini is in critical condition and fighting for her life, Sheriff Terry Maketa said. The sheriff's office plans to start a fund help her and her family.

The standoff began after police responded to the report of a disturbance at the house around 2:30 p.m. Monday. Two officers found an armed man at the house and retreated to coordinate a response with other officers who had responded, witnesses and Evans told The Gazette.

Neighbor Tiffany LaGuardia told the Colorado Springs newspaper that a woman ran out of the house, was shot and then collapsed as she tried getting into a pickup.

The man went back inside the home. A neighbor held the woman's head until paramedics arrived.

"She came out screaming and yelling for help," LaGuardia said. "He came out shooting her. He came chasing her down, gunned her down."

Police Cmdr. Mike Haley said there was a second report of shots fired shortly after the woman was wounded. Police tried unsuccessfully to contact the man on the phone and public address system for several hours before a SWAT team entered the home and found the bodies.