State: Friends, family mourn Coloradan killed in murder-suicide
Littleton — More than 200 friends and family gathered Friday to remember the life of Amber Nicole Carlson, a 19-year-old nursing student shot to death in a double-murder-suicide in Laramie, Wyo.
With mourners lining the pews of Calvary Chapel, a slide slow projected photos on the walls chronicling her life.
One image was a letter from her parents, Julie and Steven Carlson, that said, “There is a gaping hole in our hearts.”
Amber Carlson was killed Sunday in an attack that left her assailant and one other person dead and a fourth person wounded.
Investigators said 20-year-old Justin Geiger of South Beloit, Ill., killed Carlson with a high-powered rifle, stabbed Adam Towler, 20, of Laramie to death and stabbed and wounded Anthony Klochak, 19, of Chardon, Ohio.
Geiger then took his own life with the rifle, police said. Klochak survived and has been cooperating with investigators, authorities said.
Geiger, Carlson and Klochak were students at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. Towler had attended Emory University and planned to transfer to Georgetown in the fall.
Carlson’s compassion for others would have made her an excellent nurse, friends said Friday.
“Amber never forgot to love life,” her friend Lisa Collins told mourners. “She never forgot to smile.”
The slide show began with pictures of Carlson as an infant and progressed through birthdays and holidays, showing her on Santa’s lap, next to a jack-o’-lantern and finally in her high school graduation gown and then in a University of Wyoming T-shirt.
The letter by her parents spoke of her mischievous nature, her shy smile and her compassion for all life, from people to her beloved pet dog Chelsie, to insects.
In his eulogy, Pastor Gino Geraci said he recognized how unnatural it seems for parents to bury their children, but quoting Biblical passages, he told mourners to learn from Carlson’s sunny outlook and perpetual hope, even in difficult times.
Among Carlson’s mementoes displayed in the church foyer were photographs of her with her family, emblazoned with the words, “Together Forever,” and a poem Carlson had written describing herself.
“Amber, sensitive shy hopeful. Sister of Jena and Nathan. Who loves animals friends and life,” it read. “Who needs love and support and friends. Who gives generously time and love. Who fears snakes, death and heights.”
As the 90 minutes service closed, her family gathered around her open coffin, leaving pink roses among the family photos and a teddy bear wearing a University of Wyoming shirt next to her body.
Her sister, Jena, in a poem she wrote and read to the crowd, said, “Neither sunrise or sunset is comparable to the sparkle in her eyes.”
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Though the city of Steamboat Springs saw a slight decline in 2020 sales tax revenue as COVID-19 hit Routt County, the city is expected to catch up to its 2019 revenues.