Tattoo Parlor Killer Named His Victims in Violent, Misogynist Novels

The gunman, who killed five people at several locations in Denver, was a small figure in a hyper-masculine part of the far-right.
A photo the gunman posted of himself on Instagram. Photo via Instagram.

The man who went on a shooting spree in Denver named several of the victims he killed in a series of violent novels he self-published years before the shooting. 

Police say that Lyndon McLeod, 47, went on a shooting spree Monday throughout Denver that cost five people their lives. During the rampage, he shot up two tattoo parlours, invaded multiple homes, shot and killed a hotel employee, and exchanged gunfire with police. The shooter was eventually killed by a police officer he had wounded.  


Police said the gunman was on their radar for several years regarding two investigations but have still not stated what exactly that was in regards to. However, one local media outlet has reported that a couple who bought a property from the shooter had it raided by police who were investigating a cannabis grow-up. 

The gunman’s family released a statement saying they have been estranged from him for years and mourned the deaths of the victims. “The losses Monday are evidence of the deep need for a system geared toward helping mentally-ill individuals,” it said. 

The victims have been named as Alicia Cardenas, Alyssa Gunn-Maldonado, Michael Swinyard, Daniel Schofield, and Sarah Steck. Local media have reported that some witnesses say that the shooter was dressed as a police officer during his rampage and the majority of those targeted were known by the killer.

Some of the violence was directly previewed in novels the shooter self-published under a pen name. 

The books—meandering hyper-violent screeds set in the near future which lean heavily on themes of a failed society, traditionalism, virulent misogyny, masculinity being repressed, and using violence as a corrective force— feature a fictional gunman going on killing sprees. The novels directly named at least two of the victims who were killed during the real-life rampage—they are also killed violently in the book. Authorities have not yet publicly confirmed that the gunman did write these books but the author's photos feature the same man and the book's protagonist has the same name but with one letter off. 


One of the victims named, Michael Swinyard, is described in the book as a business partner to the protagonist. In the novel, the protagonist shoots an unarmed Swinyard in the head during a poker game while ranting about the money he’s owed.

“He pulled the trigger to the M4 three times hurling jacketed hollow point 5.56 nato rounds into Mike’s head at 2,400 feet per second as a blood signature, a small pressurized mist of blood—like a blowhole of a sperm whale—ejected from Mike’s leeside,” reads the passage. The real life Swinyard was killed in his home on Monday. 

In the second book of the series, the shooter’s alter-ego directly states that he had “killed Alicia Cardenas.” 

The books were still available on Amazon on Wednesday afternoon but were taken down by the evening. The shooter’s books not only foreshadowed the violence that was to come but also made him a small figure in the hyper-masculine traditionalist sector of the “the Manosphere”, which refers to the online network of anti-feminists and misogynists, where he was an active member. He was also a member of far-right groups which are organized around similar topics.

Matthew Kriner, a senior reseach scholar at the Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, has been actively investigating the gunman's ideologies and where he fits into this world. 


“McLeod’s extremism and brand of accelerationism are deeply influenced by Manosphere influencers Jack Donovan and Jack Murphy, as well as the esoteric fascist group the Wolves of Vinland,” Kriner told VICE. “McLeod regularly promoted the group online in his social media and in his books.”

Kriner said that it doesn’t appear the gunman’s bloodshed was meant to further these ideologies but that “it is virtually impossible to separate his views from his violence.” Violence from this ecosystem of angry men is, at this point, sadly unsurprising.

The books were, in some small circles, popular and had several glowing reviews written about them but it’s impossible to know how many of those reviews are legitimate. Currently the shooter and his novels are, being celebrated by the extreme-right who have dubbed him a “saint” and an “inspiration.” 

“The fact that McLeod has already been included by deep-neofascist accelerationists into the saintdom ranks should indicate precisely how others view his actions - as supportive of their violent social collapse accelerationism,” said Kriner. 

Regardless, while the shooter wasn’t a celebrity in the far-right ecosystem per se he was, at the very least, acknowledged as somewhat of a figure. In early 2020 he appeared on a podcast with a well-known far-right author and thought leader who pushed similar hyper-masculine traditionalist ideas as McLeod. McLeod described this man as a “big influence” in a blog post about his podcast appearance. Like many in this milieu he used social media to network, push his book, and philosophize about an ensuing war. 

“Aggro white males ARE violent & will be more violent as they are made irrelevant by a country that HATES them," he wrote on Twitter. "Their limbic system is in revolt against the modern world. War is coming.”

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