Neighbor says things went sour when accused Black Forest shooter moved in
The man accused of killing two people in Black Forest made his first public appearance Wednesday since he was taken into custody Sunday.
Kenneth Lankford made his first appearance in court. He faces charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder and first-degree assault. He is accused of killing his wife, Terry Lankford, at a home on Burrows Road Saturday morning. He is also accused of killing Carol Fowler at her home on Timberlane Court and shooting her husband Tom that same day.
Neighbors said they worried about Kenneth Lankford as soon as he moved into Terry Lankford's home at 6650 Shoup Road. The home would later be destroyed in June's wildfire.
Steven Hailes plans to rebuild after the fire, but his neighbor Terry will never return home.
"Terry Lankford was just very simple, very quiet, to herself, very pleasant," said Hailes. "Once (Kenneth Lankford) moved in with her then things were very tense."
Hailes lived next door to the Lankfords.
"It was a very peaceful and tranquil thing before Ken showed up," said Hailes.
Hailes said Kenneth "didn't think like the rest of us." He remembered different tactics Kenneth Lankford would use to intimidate his neighbors across the street.
"He would sometimes get up before dark and fire up a chainsaw and walk up and down the street with it," said Hailes.
Hailes owns Wolford Lane, a small street that runs next to his neighbors' properties and eventually leads to his home. He was walking on Wolford Lane to his neighbor's home when the Lankford's four dogs started attacking him.
"I had about 16 bites, contusions on the arms, I was bleeding from both arms and bites from my backside all the way down to my ankles," said Hailes.
The El Paso County Sheriff's Office investigated the attacks. The four dogs were impounded and then later euthanized under a judge's orders. A judge told the Lankfords they couldn't own more dogs. Complaints against the dogs became a point of contention between Kenneth Lankford and his neighbors.
"We started carrying weapons on ourselves when we walked on our property just in case the dogs tried to attack again," said Hailes. "(My neighbors) were afraid to go outside their house anymore, they would not allow the grandkids to visit their property because those dogs could kill a small body. They were afraid. We were afraid too."
Hailes said he could hear Kenneth Lankford fire off guns on his property. Hailes knew Lankford was a felon and therefore, not allowed to have guns.
"We tried to warn the (El Paso County) Sheriff's Office that he is a person they really need to watch over," said Hailes.
The El Paso County Sheriff's Office investigated Kenneth Lankford's possession of weapons in light of his rap sheet. Deputies arrested him on July 5. He was released on bond the next day.
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