Colorado Walmart shooting suspect Scott Ostrem had run-ins with police, financial troubles

Neighbors say he was "weird," seen with rifle bag
Posted at 11:32 AM, Nov 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-03 01:30:23-04

THORNTON, Colo. – Scott Allen Ostrem, the man accused of shooting and killing three people at a Walmart in suburban Denver Wednesday evening, usually kept to himself and was sometimes seen carrying a rifle bag back and forth between his apartment and car, neighbors said Thursday.

Ostrem, 47, was arrested in the middle of the road, close to his apartment at the intersection of W 72nd Ave. and Federal in Denver Thursday morning. Ostrem's apartment was just blocks away, in the 7100 block of Samuel Drive.

He was at large for more than 12 hours after allegedly shooting the three people at the Thornton Walmart and fleeing in his red Mitsubishi Mirage Wednesday evening. FBI agents served a search warrant at his apartment this morning, which Denver7 was given access to later in the day.

On Thursday, the coroner for Adams and Broomfield counties identified the three dead as 52-year-old Pamela Marques of Denver, 66-year-old Carlos Moreno of Thornton, and 26-year-old Victor Vasquez of Denver.

IMAGES | Photos capture chaotic scene after Thornton Walmart shooting

One neighbor of Ostrem’s described him as “weird” and told Denver7 about seeing him carrying the rifle bag. The neighbor, who wished not to be identified, said Ostrem often stayed to himself inside his apartment.

Another neighbor told Denver7 Ostrem came off as rude and unapproachable. 

“He was on the edge, not friendly, wouldn’t talk to anybody,” said neighbor Teresa Muniz. “You didn’t dare talk to him, because he always looked mad.”

Muniz didn’t know Ostrem by name. However, his presence was known in the Denver apartment building.

“I always saw him coming up and down the stairs. He would come at least 10 times a day,” she said.

Thornton police said at a Thursday morning news conference announcing Ostrem’s arrest that a citizen tip had alerted police to the fact that he was close to his apartment. A warrant was executed at his home, but Ostrem was not at home at the time.

Police said Ostrem was arrested without incident, but said they had not yet determined a motive for the shooting.

They also said that the Ohio-born Ostrem didn’t have a lengthy criminal history.

Colorado court records show he has been arrested at least four times since 1990, when he was arrested on a harassment charge in Westminster. He was found guilty of the charge and sentenced to two days in jail.

In April 1991, Ostrem was charged with driving under the influence in Adams County, but he was never convicted, according to the court records.

In December 1999, he was charged in Denver with assault on a peace officer, possession of dangerous weapons, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. But he agreed to plead guilty to the resisting arrest charge in exchange for the other, more-serious charges being dismissed. He received a one-year deferred probation sentence in the case.

In January 2013, Ostrem was arrested by Wheat Ridge police on a DUI charge. But the charge was eventually lowered to driving while ability impaired, which he pleaded guilty to, according to the records, after a 2014 arrest for skipping court in the case. He received a one-year suspended jail sentence in that case.

He told police he was unemployed during the 2013 and 2014 arrests, according to police reports.

He declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in September 2015. At the time, he said in his filing that he worked as a sheet metal fabricator at B&M Roofing of Colorado in Frederick, but he said at that time that he’d only worked there for a year. When Denver7 called the business Thursday, reporters were directed to a voicemail.

But the company confirmed when Denver7 showed up to the business that Ostrem was working there Wednesday. However, he walked off the job Wednesday morning before the shooting, employees confirmed.

They described him otherwise as a "good employee" who "kept to himself," and said they were shocked and saddened by what happened.

At the time of the bankruptcy filing, he calculated he was expending about $270 a month more than he was receiving in income. The filing also showed that there were dozens of creditors seeking payments from Ostrem, including the IRS and Colorado Department of Revenue.

His bankruptcy attorney told Denver7 he didn’t remember much about Ostrem, but said the shooting was “very sad.”

Records from the Colorado Secretary of State's Office show that Ostrem also created two different limited-liability corporations in Colorado that have both since been classified as delinquent.

He registered Ostrem Installation LLC in June 2012 at an address in Thornton. It was delinquent as of No. 1, 2013.

And he registered MKA Electronics LLC on Jan. 2, 2013 at a PO Box in Arvada, which was delinquent as of June 1, 2014.

Ostrem is registered as a Republican in Colorado, according to voter records. He is not married.

Denver7 is working to gather more details about Ostrem. Check back on this story throughout the day for updates as we learn more.

Thornton police say they are looking for any video footage of the incident, and ask anyone who has video to call 720-977-5069.

Denver7's Jennifer Kovaleski and Jace Larson contributed to this report.