The Pueblo West View

Rye fire victims shot to death earlier, authorities say

Pueblo County authorities said today that the three people found dead in a burning house near Rye on Wednesday were shot to death before the fire.

Sheriff Kirk Taylor identified the victims as Reginald Tuttle, 51; his wife, Kim Tuttle, 55; and the couple’s daughter, Dawn Roderick, 33.

Taylor said they saw evidence of “multiple gunshot wounds” on the bodies as firefighters tried to control the blaze.He said the victims were shot while they slept, and that investigators found several points of origin for the fire.

Harry Mapps, 59, who was a person of interest in the case, is now a suspect in a triple homicide, Taylor said.  The sheriff also said Mapps cashed two checks from the Tuttles’ bank account -- each for $4,000 -- in Pueblo and La Junta on the day of the fire.

Taylor said that money was the motive for the killings and that Mapps is a murder suspect, but for now he’s wanted on suspicion of identity theft, theft above $5,000 and forgery.

Taylor said a witness saw Mapps at the home on the morning of the fire. Mapps had lived in the basement for about six months and was an employee of Reginald Tuttle’s trucking business, Taylor said.

Taylor also confirmed that Roderick had recently moved into the home with her three children, and that Mapps likely was asked to move out.

Taylor said he doesn’t believe Mapps is still in the area.

Taylor revealed the information during an afternoon news conference at his office. A large group of the victims’ relatives and friends stood outside during the briefing and declined comment afterward.

A nationwide search is under way for Mapps. He’s considered armed and dangerous. If you see him, contact your local law enforcement agency immediately.

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