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Highlands Ranch woman killed in shooting remembered

Savannah McNealy was a graduate of Highlands Ranch High School


Savannah McNealy was a daughter, a sister and a friend to many. Those who knew her describe her as bright, energetic, confident, loving. Her Instagram page paints the picture of a young woman who enjoyed exploring the outdoors, frequenting concerts at Red Rocks, going to college football games at Colorado State University and being with people.

"She was extremely real and carried joy," said John Brinkley, who called McNealy a "very loyal friend."

McNealy, a graduate of Highlands Ranch High School, was one of three people killed in a shooting in Fort Collins just before 2 a.m. Oct. 19. The 22-year-old was shot in a rampage in Fort Collins' Campus West neighborhood that also left Tristian Kemp, 26, and Michael Zamora, 30, dead.

A fourth victim, Megan Dierker, also a graduate of Highlands Ranch High School, was injured in the shooting and transported to the Medical Center of the Rockies for treatment. She is recovering from her injuries at a local hospital, according to a statement released from the University of Colorado Boulder, where she is a senior.

The four people had been out socializing with a larger group the evening of Oct. 18, according to a news release from Fort Collins police. McNealy, Kemp and Dierker took a rideshare back to an apartment complex in Fort Collins in the early hours of Oct. 19. A short time after they arrived at the apartment complex, investigators believe Zamora shot the victims and then himself, the release states. A handgun and two rifles registered to Zamora were recovered at the scene.

Police had not released a motive in the shooting as of Oct. 23.

McNealy was a senior art major at Colorado State University scheduled to graduate this December. She worked for the university's student media group,Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation, and interned on the Creative Services Team.

The university held a vigil the afternoon of Oct. 20.

“She was well-loved and respected by those who knew her," CSU president Tony Frank said in a statement, calling her an "exceptional, bright, energetic, confident and creative young woman."

On her Twitter account, McNealy wrote that she had a passion for graphic design. She helped create the CSU Ram Walk, a tradition in which the university's football team, cheerleaders and marching band walk along a bright orange path to the stadium on game days, according to the Rocky Mountain Collegian, the university's student newspaper.

In high school, McNealy was involved with Young Life, a Christ-centered youth group. She helped grow the Douglas County branch from a small group of students to a large group, said area director Keith Baker.

“If she wanted you some place, she would get you there,” said Baker, adding that she was part of core group of kids that “made the ministry better.”

“Savannah had a very infectious faith and a joy-filled spirit,” Baker said. “She was just somebody that people wanted to be around.

"She loved really, really well.”


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