Australian twins shot at Denver range
Australian twin sisters shot in head at shooting range
November 17, 2010 - 2:00PM
Twin women from Victoria were shot in the head at an outdoor shooting range in Colorado; one died, the other was critically injured.
Arapahoe County officials have not released the identities of the victims, and Sheriff's Captain Louie Perea declined to name the sisters' home town or release other information until their family was notified.
The women, aged 29, had taken a taxi to the shooting range at Cherry Creek State Park, south of Denver, on Monday.
The local sheriff's office said their visas showed one of them had arrived in Colorado on September 7 and the other on August 19, with one due to fly back to Australia today.
They had been at the Family Shooting Centre for more than an hour when they were shot.
The incident was partly caught on security cameras, which allegedly show the two women hitting the ground.
Mitch Hamilton, a worker at the centre, said it was impossible to tell from the video if the women shot themselves or each other.
But he said the wounds were not caused by other shooters or a ricocheted bullet.
"[The wounds] were self-inflicted. That's what it appears, that's as far we can tell," he said.
"The video tape shows them simultaneously falling to the ground.
"The police are done with their investigation [at the ranch] because they are not treating it as a homicide."
Mr Hamilton said the twins were chatting and not doing anything unusual leading up to the shooting.
"They were out there shooting for a good hour-and-a-half," he said. "They seemed perfectly normal."
He said the range might typically have about 20 people shooting. They were monitored at all times by two range officers.
Mr Hamilton said he was not there when the shooting happened but it had left staff upset.
"[The range officers] are out there monitoring safety rules constantly," he said.
"In a situation like this there's really nothing they can do. It's pretty rough. It's terrible. It's a sad day at the range."
The owner of the range, Doug Hamilton, told The Denver Post the women were shot nearly simultaneously.
The Post reports the women bought ammunition at the range and spent about 90 minutes firing small-calibre hand guns, even chatting between rounds.
Mr Hamilton said the women showed no signs of stress when they arrived or during their stay.
"The ladies hit the pavement virtually at the same time," he said.
"They were definitely normal.
"We are always aware and watching for signs. There was absolutely no indication."
Captain Perea said investigators were not sure who fired the gun or guns, or whether the same bullet hit both sisters.
The women were in the same shooting lane. In the lanes, shooters line up behind a wooden wall and fire through an opening that resembles a window.
Captain Perea said it was unclear whether the surviving sister would recover sufficiently to be able to provide information.
"We're looking at the last several days she was alive, see where they were and we want to confirm some facts," Captain Perea said.
There was no apparent indication of a dispute between the sisters or anybody entering or leaving the area.
DFAT confirmed the twins involved in the shooting were from Victoria.
"The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade can confirm that 29-year-old twins from Victoria were involved in a shooting incident at a driving range in Denver," DFAT said in a statement.
"One of the women has died as a result of a gunshot wound. Her sister is currently in serious but stable condition in a Colorado hospital.
"Consular officials from the Australian consulate general in Los Angeles are liaising closely with local authorities.
"The department is providing consular assistance to the women's family in Australia."
Australian Twin Sisters Shot at Denver Shooting Range
An awful tragedy :( I can only imagine it was either a disastrous ND or something [heaven forbid] deliberate. It doesn't say whether the sisters had any firearms experience...but coming from Aust that's probably less likely than most.
Only waiting now for the Greens Bob Brown to attempt to make some kind of distasteful political capital out of this death; in his ongoing campaign to ban semiauto hand(machine)guns...
How in the **** does something like that happen? Two shots fired simultaneously and they both got hit in the head? There has to be something shady going on here, the odds of a pure accident in the way it was described seems way too high to me.
Yeah it does seem improbably strange doesn't it? If public ranges in the US don't require any type of prior training to attend without one-on-one RO supervision (not sure of this) then I guess it could be just a catastrophic accident :confused:
Presuming more details will be released in time...
double suicide maybe???...
Headline is a bit deceptive. Gives wrong impression.
You have to realise its the Australian media, Shi. Almost uniformly virulently anti-gun, the headline would immediately spark a "crazy-psycho-goes-nuts-at-typically-redneck-US-range-kills-aussie-girls" knee-jerk response in many readers, before they got to the article itself.
As would be the intended impact.
Sure does, and I would guess double suicide as well. They were calm and knew exactly what they were doing. Damned shame they chose to do it at a shooting range.
Doesn't anyone jump off a bridge or building anymore??
Hell, I have shot at that range- and it was a very well run range. Damn shame, but does sound like potential suicide pact.
If it is double-suicide, then its quite possible that no one would have suspected anything. Anyone planning that is not going to 'red flag' it by suspicious behaviour.
Investigators puzzle over death of one twin sister, wounding of the other at Colo. shooting range
By Joey Bunch
The Denver Post
The shooting of 29-year-old twin sisters Monday at an Arapahoe County gun range continues to puzzle investigators, and their family in Australia still doesn't know which sister is dead.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade located the family in Victoria state in southeast Australia Tuesday evening. Because the women look the same, Arapahoe County authorities are not sure which one was killed.
Both women were shot in the head, one of them dying instantly.
The other was in critical but stable condition Tuesday night at Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, unable to talk to investigators or shed any light on the mystery.
The Arapahoe County Coroner's Office won't release their names until the identity of the dead woman is confirmed through dental records, tattoos, scars or other distinguishing marks.
Investigators still don't know whether the shooting was an accident, a suicide or foul play. No suicide note was found.
"Every time I get new information there's a new twist," sheriff's Capt. Louie Perea said. "We're keeping an open mind."
Investigators have ruled out the possibility that a third person could have shot them.
A surveillance video at the Family Shooting Center in Cherry Creek State Park showed both women falling backwards to the ground almost simultaneously outside the shooting stall about 2:50 p.m. Monday.
The video did not show what happened inside the stall, however. No one entered or left the stall other than the two women.
The women had been to the shooting range before and knew how to use the pistols they had rented, said Doug Hamilton, the gun range's owner. He would not say when they were there previously.
One of the sisters had been scheduled to fly home to Australia on Tuesday, Perea said.
One had been in the United States since Aug. 17 and the other since Sept. 19, according to their cultural-exchange visas, which often indicate participation in an educational travel program.
Their reason for being in Colorado is not known.
They had stayed at the La Quinta Inn & Suites in the Denver Tech Center, about 5 miles away, for several days until Friday, Perea said.
The pair took a cab to the range. The driver told investigators he didn't notice anything unusual, Perea said.
Neither did other people using the range when the shooting happened. The women were at the range for an hour and 20 minutes beforehand.
"They were interacting with each other, and nothing seemed unusual," Perea said. "They were just a couple of gals having fun at the range."
Suicides have occurred at the Family Shooting Center, one in 2004 and one last year, Hamilton said.
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