Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Please Pray for Rebecca

Killer angry about fumes from businessSheriff's Office could change search tactics in similar situations

Barry Shebs shot and killed Matthew Gulakowski through a small hole near the ceiling of Shebs' unit at a commercial park east of Fort Collins, Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden said Tuesday.

Gulakowski, 35, was found shot six times Monday in his unit at the Mulberry Commercial Park, 2649 E. Mulberry St., about 4:15 p.m., setting off an hours-long search for a gunman in the commercial park. Four hours later, Shebs, 45, was found hanging in his unit, which was adjacent to Gulakowski's.

The case could prompt the Sheriff's Office to conduct investigations differently into similar situations, Alderden said.

Shebs lived in a camper in his unit, Alderden said. It was a zoning violation for Shebs to live in the unit, and the owner of the unit said he did not know Shebs was living there and would not have allowed him to continue living there had he known.

Alderden said a specific time of death had not been established for Shebs.

Shebs fired six shots from a .357-caliber Magnum Ruger revolver through a 4-by-4-inch hole about 12 feet up the wall, Alderden said. There was a loft under the hole, Alderden said, and it appears Shebs was lying in wait for Gulakowski.

Gulakowski was almost done moving his custom woodworking business, Pro Formance Creations, out of the unit when he was shot, Alderden said. Shebs had complained to many people, including the Sheriff's Office on one occasion, about the fumes coming from Gulakowski's business, Alderden said.

The two men also had a disagreement regarding snow removal following one of the heavy snowfalls the area received late last year.

There is some indication that the dispute contributed to Gulakowski relocating his business, Alderden said.

In the complaint he made to the Sheriff's Office on Jan. 11, Shebs said he thought the fumes were military gas, Alderden said, and that he had an "organic gas mask" to protect himself.
Investigators found an 18-page letter in Shebs' unit detailing his complaints about the fumes, the last four pages of which were written Monday, Alderden said. In the letter, Shebs indicated that he knew Gulakowski was moving but that it "wouldn't stop the harassment" and he had to do something to stop it.

Alderden said he was not aware if Shebs had a diagnosed mental illness or history of mental-health problems. Shebs also did not have a local criminal history and only a "minor offense" in Utah, Alderden said.

The discovery of the hole Shebs used in the shooting caused some re-evaluation of the method used to clear the scene, Alderden said.

Alderden said the units with people inside them were evacuated and cleared once and then locked units were cleared from the perimeter in. Immediately following the shooting, deputies knocked on the door to Shebs' unit but did not get an answer and the door was locked, he said.
As they searched, a Sheriff's Office spokeswoman told at least one news outlet that a gunman could be on the loose in the area.

When investigators learned of the dispute between the two men, the SWAT team immediately went to Shebs' unit and found the door had been barricaded, Alderden said.
In retrospect, Alderden said, it might have been better to clear the units closest to the crime scene first.

The discovery of the hole also cleared up a lot of initial confusion during the investigation, Alderden said.

Investigators had a witness who saw Gulakowski being shot but couldn't understand how that witness couldn't have seen the shooter, Alderden said. It also explained why no shell casings were found at the scene, he said.

In a camper in Shebs' unit, investigators also found a television showing a closed-circuit camera feed from a camera that showed activity in front of the two units.

Rebecca and Matt at my Halloween party. I just saw them at my going away party, where Matt was complaining about the friggin' murderer. He was so excited to be moving into an actual shop. I feel really helpless right now.


Anonymous said...

I know people always say this about people that pass on, but in this case it is true, Matt was a really really nice and good man. This world will sorely miss him.


Anonymous said...

I'm someone who viewed Matthew's posts on a hobbyist site, Parts Express Tech Talk. I corresponded with him on occasion but read all he posted. He told us all about the encounters with this maniac. In some of his later posts, he seemed to almost see this coming, and it's just so chilling.

Our thoughts are with the family over at the board, and we're trying to do something, anything, for our friend and his family.

If you could contact Rebecca, let her know we are out here and would love to help out in any way we can. If she is OK with you putting an address where we can send something to help the family, please do.

You can say hello to his friends, who knew him as Mat G, here at the board.


Pete Schumacher

Anonymous said...

Matt was known to us on the Parts Express Tech Talk board as Mat G. He was a fount of wisdom on woodworking and finishing issues and always very generous with his knowledge. If you go to Tech Talk, you will see the outpouring of sadness, astonishment, and outrage at this senseless act. Please let Rebecca know Mat meant a lot to a lot of folks who never met him other than through cyberspace. She, their family, and Mat's immortal soul are in our prayers.

Dan Carroll

Shawn A. said...

Sorry to inundate your blog like this but there might be a lot of the guys like me from Tech Talk leaving our thoughts. Matt was truly a great guy who I respected deeply. While we had never met in person I will miss him in the forum. It's a damn shame that he had to be the victim of such a sad and senseless crime at the hands of someone so unworthy of the privilege of actually meeting Matt. My thoughts go out to the family and friends he leaves behind.

shawn a

Anonymous said...

I knew Matt from the Parts Express Tech Talk board, his tag being Mat G. I truly don't know how to express the anger and sadness I feel over this horrible trajedy. I can't imagine what his wife, family, and friends are going through right now. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

I had a couple of friendly encounters with Matt via email through the PE board. Matt was a regular contributor, and very well liked. He was so kind, going out of his way to help me out with several speaker-building hobby questions. He will be tearfully missed.

Goodbye, Mat G. May you rest in peace.


Anonymous said...

Matt G. will be missed by many over at the P.E. board, me included. Having lost a good friend to violence I know how painfull it can be. Our thoughts and hearts go out to Matt and his family.
Doug P.

Trevor Gamber said...

I can't say a whole lot since I never met the guy personally. I had talked with him on the Parts Express tech talk board a few times and have seen his wood working ablilitys (A jaw dropper.) I recently lost a loved one my self and know exactly what your going through. Tho that don't stop the pain. I wish nuthing but the best for your familey and hope all goes well. Best regards, TJG

Anonymous said...

I am deeply saddened to hear this about Matt, and my heart breaks for his family. May God comfort them in this time. This is truly a terrible tragedy. Please let his family know that many of us who knew him as Matt G. on the PE Board would like to help the family in some way if this is possible. My prayers are with them.

Jeff Bagby

Anonymous said...

Ski, as he was once known, was a TRUE friend. I've not met many men as truly and genuinely kind as he was. Rebecca, my heart goes out to you, your loss is deeper than the sea.

Anonymous said...

I was shocked and extremely saddened to hear of Mat G's death. I too am from the Parts Express bulletin board and remember many conversations online about the neighbor. I'm deeply saddened that we lost such a valued member of our family online. Please send my wishes and prayers to the family. Take care my friend..until we meet again.

-Matt L (chevyman440)

locomocos said...

thanks everyone who responded. I've forwarded this post onto Rebecca. If she is comfortable leaving it up, I will and will post memorial arrangements.

I've known Matt and Rebecca since college. I am so glad people have found this blog to leave their thoughts on this post.

Anonymous said...

Matt G. as he was known on the PE Tech site was a genuinely nice fellow. Having exchanged a few emails with him in the past I know he was a kind hearted individual. It is hard to believe that such a tragedy could occur. I will keep his family in my prayers. He may have left us here but souls like him go to a much better place.

Dave Thomas

michelle (former this and that) said...

omigod....SO sorry to hear about this. Not sure what to say express my sincere condolescences to you and all who knew him. of course I remember him from your halloween party..even have pics on flickr of him and Rebecca.
Just so sad. Hope you are okay.

Anonymous said...

I was flat out shocked when I read that one of our own PE Tech Talk members had gone to be with the Lord. He was always courteous to those that corresponded with him. I would also like to help the family in their time of need. May the Lord be with them in the wake of this tragedy, and I will have them in my thoughts and prayers. What a wasteful incident this was.
God Bless,

Anonymous said...

I too knew Mat from the Parts Express forum, but never had the chance to meet him in person. We were all familiar with his troubles with, well the crazy guy next door to him. Such a tragedy.

You can read one of Matt's posts on this very subject over at the PE Forum-

In it he says "this is one of the few places i can vent safely". I am glad we could be there for him at that time, but unfortunately there is nothing we could do to save him from this madman in the end.

Matt also said: "I no longer feel safe operating my business in its' current location with a neighbor that is making threats to "nail" me."

Ahh, it just breaks my heart. Please let us know if there is ANYTHING we can do to help.

-Mike BW

Anonymous said...

Godspeed to MattG from another at the PE Tech board. My prayers are with you, his family and friends, as you try to make sense of this tragedy and deal with your loss.

Craig (Cmac)

Anonymous said...

Like many posting here, I never met Matt personally. I just read the comments that he posted on the PE Forum. It was obvious, even in his written messages, that he was a person who had care and concern for his fellow man. He was quick to offer advice on any topic that he had knowledge. I only wish that I had been fortunate enough to meet him in real life….not just the anonymous world of cyberspace. He and his family are in my prayers. God Bless…


Anonymous said...

Please have their family check his business voicemail or email to get in contact with me.


Anonymous said...

I'm one of many DIYers that got to know Matt via the Parts Express forum. Matt surely was a good person. Rebecca, please accept my deepest sympathies for you, your family and Matt's family.
Paul K.

Anonymous said...

I too knew Matt through the Parts Express message board. He was a genuinely good man. He always had good advice and was humble about it. His woodworking skills were admired and inspiring.
I was in a similar situation with a paranoid addict of a neighbor. I was able to draw strength and solace from Matt's experience and his determination to take the high road in his situation.
I am deeply saddened that this truly good man has been taken from his family and from us, speaker hobbyists. It is unfair, tragic and wrong.
I would like to help out as well, any way I can. My contact information is at the PE website as well.

Adrian Rubio

vivavavoom said...

sent you an email...hope the address is is my old/new blog. let me know if we can do anything for you

Rebecca Gulakowski said...

This outpouring is breaking my heart. Hearing about my husband is so bittersweet. He really was MY better half.

I wouldn't mind hearing from you all on how he helped you or how you came by his Parts Express comments. Oddly, it helps me.

Anonymous said...

I am a Colorado resident and watched the events unfold on the 5pm news that night. It was several days later that I learned it was Matt. His brother and I where good friends in high school and although we have lost touch, Matt was a good friend. He took me to my first college party, built my first un-neighbor friendly subwoofer box for my truck. We ran track together and even played in the matching band in high school. My father was one of his high school teachers and Matt was one of my fathers most memorable students.

I would like to attend the memorial if I have not missed it. Would someone please contact me with details.

I wish Matt's wife, his brother and family my best.

Trevor Feist

Ginny Gary & Dennis said...

As Parents you always know that your "Kids" are the best in the world. It is truely gratifying to read all of the positive and sincere comments by his friends from Parts Express and everywhere else who have found this blog.

We are very proud of our Sons Mathew and Dennis and we are proud and happy to know that our "Family" had grown to such epic proportions.

Thank You from the bottom of our collective hearts. We Love you All.
Ginny / Gary / Dennis

S E E Quine said...

` I F*ING HATE HOMOCIDAL NUTCASES!!!! >:^( What is their problem!?!? They need to be locked up!!

mike66 said...

All of Matt's friends new him as "Ski", not because he was an amazing skier, it was just part of his last name. Today is April 30th, 2012....five years later. Ski truely was a great guy and an amazing friend. He is missed.

Mike Arthur

Anonymous said...

Thinking of Ski this week. Remembering what a wonderful friend and person he was. He is still dearly missed. Sending other friends and family healing thoughts as another anniversary of him leaving us too soon is here.
With gratitude for all he was,
Brodi Caldwell