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Colorado man aged 95 fatally shoots assisted-living staffer, police say

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DENVER (Reuters) - A 95-year-old resident of an assisted-living center near Denver was arrested on Wednesday for investigation of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of a facility employee who may have owed him money, police said.

The shooting occurred around 7 a.m. in the lobby of the Legacy Assisted Living facility in Lafayette, Colorado, about 20 miles northwest of Denver, when the victim arrived for work, Deputy Police Chief Brian Rosipajla told reporters.

The worker, identified only as a man in his 40s who was the facility's maintenance director, was confronted by resident Okie Payne, who pulled out a handgun and fired one round, striking the employee, Rosipajla said.

As two people came to the victim's aid, Payne pointed the gun at them before retreating to his living quarters, where he was arrested without incident, Rosipajla said, adding that police are investigating what led up to the shooting.

"All we know right now is it was supposedly over money," he said.

The victim was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead hours later, police said.

In a statement issued through its management company, Legacy called the shooting a "senseless act" and said the facility was making grief counselors available to residents and staff.

It was not clear how a resident would have obtained a weapon. The facility has a gun policy that prohibits firearms on site, the statement said.

Payne had resided at the facility since October 2019. The victim was an eight-year employee who was "truly beloved by residents and staff," the company said.

Payne was transported to the Boulder County jail, where he was held without bond on suspicion of first-degree murder, as well as two counts of felony menacing for brandishing the weapon at the people who tried to aid the victim, Rosipajla said.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver; Editing by Steve Gorman and Leslie Adler)

© Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021

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