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Escaped Inmate Pulled Trigger On Firefighter, Gun Wouldn’t Fire

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Raul Alaniz (credit: Weld County Sheriff's Office)

Raul Alaniz (credit: Weld County Sheriff’s Office)

GREELEY, Colo. (CBS4) – An escaped inmate who shot himself in a Greeley home Friday reportedly pointed a gun at a firefighter but the weapon didn’t fire.

Police closed off several blocks around 15th Street and 21st Avenue Friday afternoon as they searched for the inmate. Investigators say Raul Alaniz, 32, escaped after being taken to the Northern Colorado Medical Center for treatment.

“He assaulted one of our corrections officers. He was able to get the corrections officer’s gun,” Sgt. Tim Schwartz with the Weld County Sheriff’s Office said.

That’s when Alaniz aimed the gun at a firefighter who came to the officer’s assistance.

Police said Alaniz then raced across the street and holed up in a home with a hostage inside. SWAT teams and several agencies surrounded the home.

“The SWAT team was able to rescue the hostage and they heard at least one gunshot and it’s believed at this time that he took his own life,” Schwartz said.

Alaniz has a long criminal past. Court records show he’s been arrested more than a dozen times for crimes that include assault, resisting arrest and weapons charges. The last time he was arrested was Thursday night.

The homeowners were not home when it happened. It was one of their renters who was taken hostage.

The hospital is now reviewing procedures about how they handle patients in police custody.

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