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How Superman Helped Minneapolis Cops Track Down Love Rival Who Attempted to Kill Forensic Scientist

Nicole Lenway was shot at point-blank range while picking up her son from a supervised parenting center.
Cover Image Source: YouTube/CBS News
Cover Image Source: YouTube/CBS News

Nicole "Nicki" Lenway, a forensic scientist in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was gunned down at point-blank range in a parking lot while she was on her way to get her son from a supervised center — and those responsible for the shooting were caught, in part, thanks to Superman.

According to CBS News, Lenway's son, Callahan, was at the parenting center FamilyWise with his father when the incident took place. A passerby, Emilie Clancy heard the shots and immediately approached Lenway to try to help. Clancy phoned 911 and used her jacket to stop Lenway from bleeding out.

The shooting was caught on surveillance camera, which showed a woman firing shots at the victim. "I'm halfway in between my vehicle and the door. And this person comes running up from behind me," Lenway told CBS News' Erin Moriarty.

"Shots were being fired. I fell to the ground …And the shooter stood over me and continued to try to shoot …I felt my neck and then could see the blood," she said.


Emergency responders rushed Lenway to a hospital for further treatment. She was reportedly suffering from a perforated lung, and damage to her vocal cords. She also had a bullet lodged between two ribs.

Donovan Ford, her husband, was informed that she was in critical condition.

"I'm in law enforcement, so when they say critical, that means essentially they're close to the end. …and where she was shot, typically, people don't survive. …I was praying, a lot," Ford said.


While Nicole Lenway was fighting for her life, her colleagues were trying to figure out who was behind the shooting. The first person they took an interest in was the victim's ex, Timothy Amacher.

Amacher had made 10 reports of child abuse against Lenway and her now-husband, Ford,  MPR News reported. All of the reports turned out to be unfounded.


Lenway reportedly once alleged that Amacher tried to ruin her career by making a false complaint to MPD’s internal affairs office that she had fabricated evidence in the 2015 fatal police shooting of Jamar Clark


Investigators spoke with Amacher and he had a solid alibi during the time his ex was shot, CBS News reported. Throughout the attack, he was found to be spending time with his and the victim's son, Callahan, at the parenting center.

Amacher told investigators that the shooting might be related to a case that Lenway was working on, claiming, "She was afraid cause she had thought people were driving by her house."

Detectives identified the truck used by the shooter as a black Dodge Ram truck. The vehicle had no license plates.  

After regaining consciousness, Lenway pointed her finger at Amacher. "I didn't know how he was involved, but he was involved," Lenway said.


On investigating, the officials found that Amacher owned a Dodge Ram Truck. On being shown the stills of the truck from the video, Amacher denied that the truck in the footage was his.

Amacher also argued that his truck had Superman logos, which were nowhere to be seen on the one seen in the video.


Colleen Larson, Amacher's girlfriend, was the only person who had access to the truck. She was brought in for an interview and stated that she was nowhere near the crime scene that day.

According to Larson, the day of the shooting, she came back from work, took a shower, and waited for Amacher at their home.

The FBI enlisted Richard Fennern, a technology specialist, to verify the claims.

Fennern found out that Amacher's truck had wi-fi, which could give a digital transport trail. The records from the wi-fi clearly showed that the truck left Amacher's residence after 7 p.m. for FamilyWise.


The investigators located Colleen Larson on the scene with the security footage. Assistant Hennepin County attorney Jacob Fischmann stated, "She appears to be walking around, essentially scoping out the area. …I believe she is planning her next steps."

The second time Larson was questioned about the shooting, she broke down, admitting, "I took the truck and I drove over there …and then I shot her."

Larson then alleged that the incident was all Amacher's idea and that he told her it was all to save his son Callahan so they could become a happy family of three.


Timothy Amacher continued to deny his involvement in the case, but the investigators suspected that Amacher deliberately changed the get-up of his truck to evade responsibility.

Authorities were able to obtain footage showing Amacher driving the truck without the Superman logo and license plate, and they arrested him.

Larson and Amacher were both charged with attempted first-degree premeditated murder. Amacher was additionally charged with aiding an accomplice after the fact.


Amacher was sentenced to 18 years in prison for his part in the crime, MPR News reported. Throughout his trial, he maintained his innocence.

“The prosecutor’s office did display a show of smoke and mirrors ending with an inference without any support, facts, or simply relying on just a smear campaign. So in other words, if we make him look like a bad guy, he must be a bad guy,” Amacher said on the stand.


Colleen Larson was sentenced to 16-and-a-half years for her part in the crime, CBS News reported.

In a statement shared through her attorney, she told the court, "Your Honor, I stand before you with the utmost respect for the decision to come... I accept all the consequences of my actions. I understand and want to atone for what I have done. …A simple apology cannot cover the long-term damages that I have caused."

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