Suspect remains at large in homicide at Wal-Mart
June 19, 2002
Glenwood Springs police still had no suspect Tuesday in the Sunday night shooting death of 56-year-old Tom Lubchenco at Wal-Mart.
“We’re into the phase of reinterviewing the witnesses,” said Glenwood Springs police Lt. Lou Vallario. “We don’t have reason to believe [Lubchenco] was the intended victim of the shooting.”
Wal-Mart was open for business Tuesday after being closed for the entire day on Monday so investigators could examine the crime scene.
The investigation is still in the early stages, Vallario said, and police are still searching for a motive.
“What we’re doing is the grind work and the tedious tracking down of information,” he said. “Was it someone who was mad at him? Was it an armed robbery and he happened to stumble onto this guy?”
He did not elaborate on whether the shooter left the store with any money or merchandise.
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Vallario urged city residents to be vigilant in closing and locking their homes, but did not issue any additional warnings.
“We always encourage people to lock their cars and lock their doors,” he said.
Vallario discounted an earlier report by witness Phil Riley, a co-worker of Lubchenco’s at Wal-Mart. Vallario said Lubchenco’s wife, Ruth, was at home sleeping at the time of the incident. He said Glenwood Springs police informed her of her husband’s death.
Ruth Lubchenco also said Tuesday that she was not at the store at the time and she is not employed there.
Police are describing the suspect as a 5-foot-10 white male with a thin build, wearing a black baseball cap and a black jacket at the time of the shooting. Vallario also said witnesses reported that the suspect might have been wearing either a ski mask, dark glasses or tinted goggles.
“Right now we’re getting various reports,” he said.
Police were provided with some security videotapes from the store filmed at the time of the incident, but investigators haven’t yet studied them carefully, Vallario said.
The still-unidentified worker who was struck by the assailant with a shovel was treated and released from Valley View Hospital, Vallario said.
An autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday to determine the cause of Lubchenco’s death.
Vallario said it’s hard to say whether the killer will be caught.
“In the last few years, we’ve been fortunate,” he said of the department’s murder-solving prowess.
Glenwood Springs police were notified of the shooting at 11:28 p.m. Sunday. After their arrival, police searched the store property and an adjacent hillside. They tried to track the suspect using a police dog and infrared, night-vision devices, but their attempts were unsuccessful.
For those who wish to donate money to the family of Tom Lubchenco, a fund has been set up at the Bank of Colorado in Glenwood Springs.