A gun recovered after the murder of a professional cyclist has "significant" potential to be the same weapon a boyfriend bought months earlier for the woman accused of the killing, police said.
As a nationwide manhunt continues for suspect Kaitlin Armstrong, 35, police believe jealousy from an alleged love triangle was the primary motive in the killing of cyclist Moriah Wilson, 25, on May 11 at a home in Austin, Texas.
Fellow pro cyclist Colin Strickland, who told authorities he was in a three-year relationship with Armstrong, told Austin police he bought Armstrong a gun several months ago, according to an affidavit obtained by NBC affiliate KXAN.
Days after the killing, police said a 9 mm handgun was recovered in the home shared by Strickland and Armstrong and tested by investigators who say "the potential that the same firearm was involved (in the murder) is significant."
Strickland told police he was in a romantic relationship with Wilson for a few weeks in October 2021 while on a break from Armstrong, according to the affidavit. He said he and Wilson were recently working together professionally.
Wilson had traveled from San Francisco to Austin for a race in Hico, Texas, on May 14, but was found by a friend on May 11 at a home in Austin with multiple gunshot wounds, police said.
Strickland, who is not a suspect, admitted in the affidavit that he lied to Armstrong about being with Wilson on the night she was killed. He told authorities that he and Wilson went swimming and went out to dinner. Investigators say Wilson had just returned from meeting with Strickland when she was attacked.
Neighbors heard someone running out of the home on the night of the murder, according to police.
“My dad was in the garage when he thinks he heard the person who did it flee on their bike," Wyatt Harris, the son of a neighbor, told NBC News correspondent Morgan Chesky on TODAY Tuesday.
Authorities later found Wilson's bike down the street "concealed in thick bamboo."
Police said Strickland has not been accused of any wrongdoing because security footage and other evidence shows him to have been elsewhere at the time of Wilson’s murder.
He did not respond to requests by NBC News for comment, but told the Austin American-Statesman in a statement that "there is no way to adequately express the regret and torture I feel about my proximity to this horrible crime" and that he "cannot make sense of this unfathomable situation.”
The U.S. Marshals Service has spearheaded a nationwide search for Armstrong, who has not been seen in nearly two weeks and deleted her social media profiles days after the murder. She was initially in police custody on an unrelated warrant just days after the crime, but police told her she was free to go when the warrant was deemed invalid. She has not been seen since.