The woman who was shot and killed in a downtown office building on Tuesday afternoon has been identified.

Cara Russell, 52, was the executive director of the Colorado Association for Recycling and a former mayor of Buena Vista. Her estranged husband, Mickey Russell, 58, shot her multiple times on the second floor of the Alliance Center at 1536 Wynkoop Street on Tuesday afternoon before turning the gun on himself. He was dead upon police arrival.

Court records show that Cara Russell had filed for divorce in April. Wednesday morning, Denver Police Commander Ron Saunier said that Mickey Russell had no criminal history, but police had received reports that indicated that he had become increasingly unstable. He was recently banned from Buena Vista’s Central Colorado Regional Airport, where he worked as a flight instructor through his company, Russell Aviation, after making threats about flying a plane into a building, according to the Denver Post. Mickey Russell filed for a restraining order against his wife in 2013.

The murder-suicide shut down a portion of LoDo on Tuesday afternoon, closing the busy streets surrounding Union Station for hours. According to police, Mickey Russell entered the Alliance Center, which houses 49 nonprofits, through the front door around 2:42 p.m., after first trying a door in an alleyway, which was locked. After entering the building, Saunier said a short chase ensued. More than 100 witnesses gave statements to the police.

5280 Magazine’s offices are located directly behind the Alliance Center, and witnesses saw men and women fleeing the building with their hands raised as Denver Police dressed in SWAT gear swarmed the property. Multiple ambulances and police cars responded within minutes of 911 calls coming from within the building.

On Tuesday evening, Mayor Michael Hancock tweeted his support for the first responders, saying, “Today, our people experienced a terrifying incident. I thank our emergency responders who arrived on the scene to aid and protect our residents.”

Investigators wrapped up at the Alliance Center late Tuesday night, turning the building over to the property managers. The building was closed on Wednesday, but will reopen on Thursday.

Erin Skarda
Erin Skarda
Erin is a Denver-based writer and the former digital editor for 5280.