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Tragedy in the Springs

Posted 03/03/2024 by Alexa Tsvetkov

A UCCS student places a flower in memory of the two young people fatally shot on February 16th. photo courtesy of Helen H. Richardson/ Denver Post

Mid February this year, two people were killed on the campus of the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

Early morning on February 16th, 2024, campus dispatch at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS) received a call regarding shots fired on campus. Shortly after, Samuel Knopp, a senior at UCCS, and Celie Rain Montgomery were found dead at the university’s Crestone House residence. The deaths prompted a campus lockdown so the investigations could proceed. After an uproar of fear from students and Colorado Springs residents, the Colorado Springs Police determined there was no longer an active shooter. Classes on the following Monday were canceled at UCCS for a “day of healing.”

Tuesday morning on the 20th of February, Nicholas Jordan was confirmed as the suspect by the Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez. Jordan shared a four-room dormitory with fellow students Knopp and Giancarlo Argueta-Augedelo. Jordan often seemed to be a problem for his two roommates, as there were consistent complaints about him smoking marijuana and cigarettes and reports of his overall lack of cleanliness. Earlier in January, Knopp and Jordan had an argument. Knopp asked Jordan to take out the trash, to which Jordan responded that he would “kill him” if Knopp were to ever ask him to take the trash out again. Both Knopp and Jordan were students at the university and a clear motive for Jordan has not been disclosed. However, Jordan did request to withdraw from his classes and housing the day before the shooting. ABC News states that a warrant was issued for Jordan’s arrest on two counts of first degree murder. Shortly after, Jordan was taken into custody in Colorado Springs after being found in a vehicle Monday morning three miles from campus. Prosecutors say that he had a handgun on him and a fully loaded AK-47 assault rifle left in his car. Jordan is to appear in court and is being held against a 1 million dollar bond. 

According to NBC News, Knopp was from Parker, Colorado, and was studying music at UCCS. “He was an accomplished guitar player and an extremely talented musician,” Chancellor Jennifer Sobanet conveyed in a statement to the community. Knopp’s loved ones also expressed their anguish over his death. His best friend, senior Haden Garcia Gillespie, noted in an interview that aired Tuesday on TODAY, “…you can tell that he was definitely taken from us way too soon.” He continued, “I don’t think anyone could ever imagine something like this happening.” 

Montgomery was from Pueblo, Colorado, and had previously attended Pueblo Community College for culinary arts. She was beloved by her community and will forever be missed. UCCS has expressed their grief that these tragedies keep ensuing. “These deaths, and the ensuing unimaginable pain, are happening much too often in an environment where teaching and learning should be our only concern,” the university voiced in a statement. The disturbance and distress caused by these homicides has shaken up Colorado Springs residents and students as they were the third and fourth homicides in the area in 2024. At this time last year, there had already been two homicides. The growing effects of gun violence are becoming apparent as students and faculty are growing more alarmed day by day.