UCCS student accused of killing two in dorm room faces judge

Bond set at $5 million for Nicholas Jordan

Nicholas Jordan, a 25-year-old student at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS), appeared in court on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, for his first hearing after being arrested for a double homicide in a campus dorm room. The judge set his bond at $5 million cash-only, citing the seriousness of the charges and the risk of flight.

Jordan is accused of shooting and killing his roommate, Samuel Knopp, 24, and Celie Rain Montgomery, 26, in their room at Crestone House in the Alpine Village area on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. Both victims were found with multiple gunshot wounds and pronounced dead at the scene. Knopp was a registered UCCS student from Parker, while Montgomery was from Pueblo and not affiliated with the university.

According to the arrest affidavit, Jordan confessed to the killings and told the police that he had been planning to kill Knopp for a while because he was “annoying” and “disrespectful”. He also said that he did not know Montgomery and that she was just “in the wrong place at the wrong time”. He claimed that he used a handgun that he had bought legally and that he had no mental health issues or substance abuse problems.

UCCS community shocked and saddened by the tragedy

The UCCS campus was placed on lockdown and all classes were canceled on the day of the shooting, as police and emergency personnel responded to the incident. The university also offered counseling and support services to students, faculty, and staff who were affected by the tragedy.

UCCS Chancellor Venkat Reddy issued a statement expressing his condolences and grief over the loss of two lives. He said that the university was “deeply saddened” and “shocked” by the “senseless act of violence” and that the UCCS community was “united in mourning”. He also praised the “swift and professional” actions of the campus police and the Colorado Springs Police Department in securing the scene and apprehending the suspect.

UCCS student

Many students and friends of the victims also shared their memories and tributes on social media, describing them as “kind”, “funny”, “smart”, and “loving”. They said that they were “devastated” and “heartbroken” by the news and that they would “miss them forever”.

Double homicide raises questions about campus safety and gun laws

The double homicide at UCCS was the first fatal shooting on the campus in its history and one of the rare cases of gun violence at a Colorado college or university. It also raised questions about the safety and security of the campus and the state’s gun laws.

According to the UCCS website, the university prohibits the possession of firearms and other weapons on campus, except for authorized law enforcement personnel and individuals with valid concealed carry permits. However, the website also states that “the university does not maintain a list of individuals who may possess a concealed carry permit” and that “the university does not search for weapons nor does it control access to the campus with metal detectors”.

Colorado is one of the states that allows concealed carry on college campuses, as long as the permit holder is 21 years or older and meets the legal requirements. The law was passed in 2003 and upheld by the Colorado Supreme Court in 2012, despite the opposition of some university officials and student groups who argued that it would increase the risk of accidents, suicides, and mass shootings.

The double homicide at UCCS also occurred less than a month after the deadly shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and sparked a nationwide movement for gun control. Many students, parents, teachers, and activists have been calling for stricter background checks, bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and other measures to prevent gun violence and protect schools and communities.

Next steps for the case and the suspect

Nicholas Jordan is facing two counts of first-degree murder, which carry a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without parole or the death penalty in Colorado. He is being held at the El Paso County jail and is scheduled to return to court on March 6, 2024, for a formal filing of charges.

Jordan’s defense attorney, who was appointed by the court, declined to comment on the case or his client’s mental state. He said that he was still reviewing the evidence and the discovery materials and that he would “zealously” represent Jordan’s interests.

The prosecution, led by the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, also did not comment on the case or the possible motives behind the shooting. They said that they were still investigating the incident and gathering more information from the witnesses and the forensic experts.

The case is expected to be a complex and lengthy one, as both sides will have to deal with issues such as the admissibility of Jordan’s confession, the validity of his handgun purchase, the availability of any mitigating or aggravating factors, and the potential impact of the public opinion and the media coverage on the jury selection and the trial outcome.

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