Denver shooting suspect's fiction foreshadowed deadly attack

Denver shooting suspect's fiction foreshadowed deadly attack
ValynPi14 / Pixabay

Earlier this week, I wrote about a rampage shooting in the Denver area. The Denver shooting, as we’re now calling it, was horrific, as all such shootings are, and now people are looking for answers.


You know, like we always do after anything we simply can’t explain.

However, it seems the killer was a fiction writer. In fact, he apparently foreshadowed the attack in some of his work.

The suspect in Monday’s metro Denver shooting spree foreshadowed the rampage in a series of books he wrote under a pseudonym, and he used the names of actual victims in his writings.

Five people were killed in the shootings and several were wounded, including a policewoman. Investigators believe the gunman targeted some of his victims, but his motive remains unclear, Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said.

The gunman — identified as [name redacted], 47 — was killed after a gunfight with the policewoman.

McLeod wrote under the pseudonym [pen name redacted, too], according to a CNN review of his writings.

[He] writes in chilling detail in one of his books about a character named [the same as the killer’s] who dresses in police gear and kills another character by the name of “Michael Swinyard” at a building located at 1300 Williams St.

One of the victims in Monday’s shooting was named Michael Swinyard, according to the medical examiner’s office for the city and county. Police say he was killed at that same address.

In another book, [the shooter] writes about a character killing a woman named Alicia Cardenas. The medical examiner’s office said a woman named Alicia Cardenas was killed.

Cardenas, 44, was the owner of Sol Tribe Tattoo & Body Piercing, her father told CNN Denver affiliate KMGH.


(Names are redacted so as to not encourage this sort of thing by those seeking notoriety.)

Of course, I’m sure some will read this and think, “How could they not know?”

The truth of the matter is that while authors often self-insert into their books to some degree or another, there’s literally no reason anyone wouldn’t have noticed much of anything. Not the general public, at least.

Those that knew the killer probably should have been concerned by the fact that the violent perpetrator of these killings in the book had the same name as the author, sure, but maybe they did? The killer would likely have justified it in some way and that would have been that. At least, it would have been until the killings actually happened.

But self-inserts aren’t unusual. Stephen King has done it in a very literal sense, including an actual version of himself in one of his books. Others are generally more subtle. I’ve written a couple of books where the protagonist has some similarities to myself, at least at the beginning of the book.

I’m not close to unusual in that regard.


The truth of the matter is that this is one of those things where you can look back and think, “How did no one see it?” but we have to remember that there was no reason we should have. Not from his fiction, at least.

As of now, police still aren’t sure of what motivated the gunman to carry out such a horrific crime. I’m sure we’re going to debate it for a while, too.

All I can do is shake my head at the tragedy of it all.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member