When officers arrived to the East Austin home, they found a woman hunched over, desperately giving CPR to pro cyclist Anna Moriah Wilson, who was bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds as she lay on the bathroom floor surrounded by empty bullet shells.
According to a police affidavit, Wilson was romantically involved with Austin-based pro cyclist Colin Strickland last fall after his split with Kaitlin Armstrong, 35, his girlfriend of three years. The fling eventually fizzled out, and Strickland rekindled his relationship with Armstrong. But on the night Wilson was killed, officials say Wilson had been hanging out with Strickland — and they suspect Armstrong shot Wilson after Strickland dropped off Wilson at her friend’s place.
Strickland did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post. However, in a statement to the Austin American-Statesman, he said he was cooperating with authorities and would do so “until some form of justice is served.”
“There is no way to adequately express the regret and torture I feel about my proximity to this horrible crime,” he added.
Strickland has not been charged with or accused of any crime related to Wilson’s death.
Strickland was the last known person to see Wilson before she was shot. Wilson, a college skier turned full-time competitive cyclist, had traveled from San Francisco to Texas to compete in Gravel Locos, a race in the city of Hico. She stayed at a friend’s home in East Austin but met up with Strickland on the afternoon of May 11 to go swimming, according to the affidavit.
After their outing, Strickland dropped off Wilson at the home around 8:36 p.m. A minute later, a dark-colored SUV with a bike rack was captured by surveillance footage stopping next to the same residence — it appeared to be Armstrong’s car, according to the arrest warrant. According to the affidavit, Wilson was found on the bathroom floor by a friend, who then performed CPR.
The next day, authorities interviewed Strickland, who admitted to having a brief relationship with Wilson months earlier, according to police. Although he said he maintained a professional relationship with Wilson, he also said he had to change Wilson’s contact name in his phone and delete her texts “to prevent Armstrong from finding them,” the warrant states. Strickland also told investigators he had purchased two 9mm guns between December and January — a Springfield Armory for himself and a Sig Sauer for his girlfriend.
That same day, Armstrong was questioned by police. When investigators showed her “video evidence of her vehicle,” Armstrong “had no explanation as to why it was in the area and did not make any denials surrounding the statements,” according to the affidavit.
Two tipsters shed greater light into the Wilson-Strickland-Armstrong love triangle and the jealous streak that police say allegedly motivated the shooting.
One of them — a friend of Wilson’s identified by the pseudonym “Jane” — alleged that Armstrong had called Wilson several times throughout the past months and, in one instance, told Wilson “she had to stay away” from Strickland, according to the affidavit.
A second caller told police on May 14 that Armstrong “became furious and was shaking in anger” in January when she discovered Strickland had maintained a relationship with Wilson.
“Armstrong told the caller [she] was so angry Armstrong wanted to kill Wilson,” the affidavit reads. “Armstrong then proceeded to tell the caller [she] had either recently purchased a firearm or was going to.”
When police compared shell casings fired from Armstrong’s handgun to the ones found near Wilson’s body, they found “significant” potential that her firearm was linked to the shooting.
Following an investigation, Austin police issued the warrant charging Armstrong with first-degree murder.
As the search for Armstrong continues, the cycling community and Wilson’s loved ones are reeling from the loss of a rising star who also “loved Italy, Taco Tuesdays, maple creemees and playing Catan with her friends,” according to her obituary.
Known as “Mo,” the Vermont native had big ambitions when it came to her professional career — recently quitting her job to focus on cycling full-time — but also big dreams of giving back.
“Mo recently chose to call Vermont home again with a vision to create a local community space in East Burke, Vt. where bikers could gather throughout the day, feel welcome, share a good cup of coffee and a bite of locally sourced food,” according to her obituary.