DENVER A shooter injured a Colorado cop and a tattoo shop employee Thursday in a killing spree that he predicted in a macabre series of self-published writings.

Three-year Lakewood cop Ashley Ferris underwent surgery at a local hospital and was declared stable, police said. Ferris challenged the shooter, who shot her in the abdomen. Ferris retaliated, murdering the guy.

Lakewood Police Chief Dan McCasky issued a statement Wednesday evening praising Agent Ferris and her fellow officers’ bravery in an active shooter scenario. We will be here to help Agent Ferris and her family during her rehabilitation.

The attacker opened fire at three sites in or near tattoo parlours, and four of the victims were shot inside tattoo shops, according to police.

Jimmy Maldonado, a piercer at one of the targeted tattoo businesses, was shot in the neck and shoulder and remains hospitalised.

Alyssa Gunn Maldonado, 35, his wife, was slain in the incident, as were tattoo artists Alicia Cardenas, 44, and Danny Schofield, 38, Sarah Steck, 28, and Michael Swinyard, 67.

Two of the shooter’s victims were named in a book series he had owned. Lyndon James McLeod, 47, was identified as the shooter.

McLeod owned Flat Black Ink, a Denver firm that established in 2005, was declared overdue in 2017, and had a name change in 2018.

An Amazon listing for the series and a Patreon link for an audiobook version were removed Wednesday.

According to a USA TODAY book review, a major character named “Lyndon James MacLeod” brutally murders people inside a tattoo business on the same street as one of the shootings Monday.

The character murders Michael Swinyard and Alicia Cardenas. And a man with the same complete name as another Denver tattoo artist who was not murdered in the assaults. “Sarah” and “Danny” are also in the novel.

Flat Black Ink currently shares a Denver address with World Tattoo Studio, one of the tattoo parlours targeted in the shooting. Cardenas, one of the victims, owns World Tattoo, according to owner Ian Lütz.

The book series has become “a component of our ongoing homicide investigation,” Denver police told USA TODAY on Wednesday.

McLeod was probed by investigators from mid-2020 to early-2021, Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said Tuesday. Pazen said neither inquiry resulted in charges. He refused to elaborate on the instances.

McLeod had “personal or business” contacts with virtually all of the victims and “targeted specific persons,” said Denver Major Crimes Division Commander Matt Clark.

Clark said the shooter killed Gunn Maldonado and Cardenas and injured Maldonado inside Sol Tribe Tattoo & Piercing on Monday night. Maldonado said he hid beneath a car in a parking lot after being shot.

McLeod then fired at persons inside a home-business hybrid at a location near another tattoo parlour, World Tattoo Studio, but no one was hurt, Clark said. Clark claimed he then set fire to a vehicle in the alley behind the shop.

Clark said McLeod fatally shot Swinyard in his home near Denver’s Cheesman Park. Cops found the shooter minutes later, but he sabotaged the officers’ car and fled into the highway, Clark said.

Police say McLeod travelled to Lakewood and fatally shot Schofield inside Lucky 13 Tattoo & Piercing.

He claimed Lakewood cops discovered McLeod’s car outside a Wells Fargo bank in a popular commercial centre and fired gunfire with him before he left. Assailant then entered a nearby restaurant, Romero added, threatening customers with a pistol but not firing or injuring anybody.

In the adjoining Hyatt House hotel, McLeod strolled in, had a “short interaction” with the front desk employee Steck, Romero said.

McLeod met Ferris less than two minutes later while strolling through a retail area.

Steck, a Hyatt employee, was hospitalised Monday and died Tuesday. McLeod had “prior dealings with the hotel,” but not with Steck.

The shootings shook the Colorado tattooing and piercing community, which mourned the death of friends and colleagues. Some called one of the victims, Cardenas, a trailblazer who helped women and people of colour into the field.

According to the shop’s website, Cardenas was a tattoo artist, muralist, and anthropologist. Cardenas is described as a “proud Indigenous artist” on his website. Her kid, 12, survives.

According to the shop’s website, Maldonado is an Aztec dancer and activist.

Gunn Maldonado, his late wife, taught yoga at Sol Shine in Denver, the studio said on Facebook. She also mentioned she was a doula in Denver on Instagram.

According to the Lucky 13 website, Schofield was a tattoo artist from Colorado. He has been tattooing for almost 15 years. Dano Blair was his nickname. Mr. Schofield leaves three young kids

“Affected by the terrible incident,” the Lakewood Police Department announced Thursday. Police said trauma services and therapists will be available across the street from the Hyatt House.

Denver and Lakewood cops urged people to donate to a Colorado Healing Fund for the victims. The Fund was established in 2018 to help victims of mass casualty crimes in Colorado.

Using a mix of police and media sources, the Gun Violence Archive records gun violence nationwide. The collection defines a mass shooting as four or more victims shot at the same time and place.