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Suspect In Aurora Church Shooting Had Been In Prison

AURORA, Colo. (AP/CBS4) - A man who shot and killed a woman at a Colorado church before he was killed by an off-duty police officer had been released early from an Oklahoma prison after serving time for assaulting an officer, authorities said Tuesday.

Aurora police identified the suspect as Kiarron Parker, 29, of Denver. Records show he was convicted in 2009 in Oklahoma for assaulting a police officer and for burglary but also had a criminal record in Colorado.

Investigators said Parker had been upset about something before the Colorado shooting Sunday. Parker had been parked somewhere with a friend when he became agitated, hopped in his vehicle and sped away, leaving the friend behind, Aurora police spokesman Frank Fania said Tuesday.

Parker sped into the parking lot of New Destiny Center church in Aurora, crashed into a car, then fired at people who came to his aid. The shooting killed Josephine Echols, 67, the mother of a pastor at the church, police said. An off-duty Denver police officer who was attending a church service then shot and killed Parker, authorities said. Denver police identified the officer as Echols' nephew Antonio Milow, a six-year veteran of the Denver Police Department.

Josephine Echols
Josephine Echols (credit: the Echols family)

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Sonny Jackson with Denver police said Milow is currently mourning the loss of his aunt and has refused interviews at this time.

"Who knows what would've happened if the officer had not been there. It certainly could have been a lot worse," Fania said.

Investigators do not know what upset Parker, but it didn't appear that Parker and his friend were arguing, Fania said.

"It's quite possible that we may never know why he jumped out of the car with that gun and why he was so agitated before," Fania said.

They also don't know what led him to the church.

"It's totally random, unfortunate circumstances that he ended up in that parking lot on that Sunday," Fania said.

Parker originally was to serve a prison sentence on his Oklahoma convictions through 2021. But the sentence was suspended in November after he completed education and substance abuse programs, said Jerry Massie, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

Church Shooting Map
(credit: CBS)

Massie said Parker served time from December 2009 to November. Oklahoma closed Parker's case in December.

Massie said the corrections department started making arrangements for Parker to be supervised when he transferred to Colorado but that an Oklahoma court ultimately decided not to place him under supervision.

Parker also served about three years in the Colorado prison system for possessing a controlled substance in Arapahoe County. He was discharged in November 2008, said Colorado Department of Corrections spokeswoman Katherine Sanguinetti.

According to Colorado court records, Parker most recently pleaded guilty on April 13 to driving with a suspended license - a case that stemmed from a January 2009 citation for failing to stop at a stop sign. He was due to be sentenced in August.

CBS4 has learned that investigators are looking into whether Parker has any ties to an apartment fire that happened Monday at Kennedy Ridge Apartments on Havana and Dartmouth even though he was already dead. Sources said Parker raced away from that area minutes before the shooting happened.

RELATED: Residents Jump From Balconies In Southeast Denver Apartment Fire

- By P. Solomon Banda, AP Writer

CBS4 staff contributed to this report.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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