2/18/24: A Message from the Chancellor

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Dear Mountain Lions,

The Colorado Springs Police Department has officially released the names of those who were taken from us in the shooting on our campus early Friday morning. I am including that announcement in full below. 

As we mourn the loss of Samuel Knopp and Celie Montgomery, my hope is that we will come together as a community, support one another and share in our grief. Please remember that you are not alone. 

Sam was a senior studying music and a beloved member of the Visual and Performing Arts department. He was an accomplished guitar player and an extremely talented musician. 

Celie, although she was not a student, will be mourned by our campus community.  

It is important to me that our community understands that CSPD has said that investigative efforts so far continue to indicate this is an isolated incident between parties that were known to one another and not a random attack against the school or other students at the university. 

On Friday, February 16, 2024, at approximately 5:59 AM, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS) Police Department received a call of shots fired coming from Crestone House, a dormitory located on the campus. UCCS PD Officers located the room shots originated from and located an adult female and an adult male deceased. The Colorado Springs Police Department received a call for assistance, resulting in the CSPD Homicide Unit assuming responsibility for the investigation.   

On Saturday, February 17, 2024, The El Paso County Coroner’s Office conducted an autopsy of the deceased female and male. The female was identified as 26-year-old Celie (See-Lee) Rain Montgomery of Pueblo, CO. The male was identified as 24-year-old Samuel Knopp of Parker, CO. While the Coroner’s Office will determine the cause and manner of death, Ms. Montgomery and Mr. Knopp’s deaths are being investigated as homicides. Mr. Knopp was a registered student at UCCS. Mrs. Montgomery was not a registered student at UCCS.  

Since the beginning of this investigation, the primary focus has been on the victims of this tragic incident and pursuing justice for them and their families. This remains an active investigation, which includes detectives continuing to develop additional investigative leads and suspect information. Given this case’s active and fluid nature, additional information about those leads and any potential suspect details will not be released at this time. Investigative efforts so far continue to indicate this is an isolated incident between parties that were known to one another and not a random attack against the school or other students at the university. 

Our detectives continue working around the clock, and we have intentionally restricted the amount of information made available to the public during the initial 48 hours of our investigation. Having said that, we have maintained ongoing communication with the families of the victims and collaborated closely with the UCCS Police to ensure that plans were in place for safeguarding the campus community.    

While acknowledging the difficulty of the situation and the withholding of information in the initial stages of our investigation, we owe it to the victims and their families to deliver accountability and justice for this horrific act. 

We will share the information about memorial services as they become available.  

This has been a difficult week with the loss of Mia Brown, another beloved student, on Monday. I know we are all mourning, so please, remember that you are not alone. The entire Mountain Lion community is here to support you.  

Tomorrow, we will take our first steps, processing and mourning along our healing journey. I encourage you to set aside time to process the tragic events of this past week, both as an individual and in a group setting. 

Classes and regular activities are canceled; however, campus will be open tomorrow and we will be offering several events for our students, faculty and staff: 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.: Student Life Lounge Community Space9 a.m. – 1 p.m.: UC 303 Community Space 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.: MOSAIC Lounge Community Space10 – 11:30 a.m.: Berger Hall Healing Circle  1 – 2 p.m.: Student Life Lounge – Therapy Dogs  2 – 3 p.m.: Solidarity Walk – Roaring Fork to El Pomar Plaza  An email with updated details on these events will be distributed tonight.  

Please, reach out if you need help. It is the strength of our community, of our bond as Mountain Lions, and our dedication to one another that will rebuild our broken hearts and give us the strength to heal.
In solidarity, 
Jennifer SobanetChancellor