By Jamie Leary
WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – A Westminster police officer is recovering from a gunshot wound and a suspected motorcycle thief is dead after a nearly six-hour long standoff with police.
Westminster Police Chief Tim Carlson said that officers arrived to a home on the 1300 block of 135th to arrest the man who was suspected of stealing a motorcycle and had numerous outstanding warrants.
“They went to arrest him; he ran inside the house and refused to come out. He barricaded himself inside the house. A couple others from inside the house came out we made contact with them. We got information that the suspect was in fact armed and he refused multiple requests to come out.” said Carlson.
The SWAT team arrived on scene and tried a number of tactics to get the man to come out and peacefully surrender but he still refused. A neighbor who was watching from his home across the street believes the suspect wanted a fight.
“Well he was yelling out, ‘What am I going to be arrested for? What am I going to be arrested for?’ And then the cops announced, ‘You have warrants, you have warrants’. And he stated, ‘I’m not going with you guys, you guys are going to have to come in and get me.’ And that was his last couple of words he had said and before you knew it they had rammed the truck in there.” said neighbor Gabe Vigil.
Not long after the SWAT team entered the home, gunfire was exchanged between the officers and the suspect. The suspect was killed but not before he was able to shoot an officer.
Carlson said that officer sustained a gunshot wound to the arm but was treated and released from the hospital. He is now back home with his family. Carlson said his officers did everything they could to avoid a fatal outcome but he is breathing a sigh of relief that no one else was killed.
“To have one of our officers injured in this kind of scenario, it’s tough for all of us and you know, it emphasizes the danger of the job that they do. And you know, we gave every opportunity for this gentleman to give himself up. Every opportunity to end this peacefully and he refused to do that.” said Carlson.
Other witnesses to the standoff backed up the chief’s statement. One neighbor said she heard SWAT for hours, calling to the suspect to come out.
“I mean they gave him hours and hours and hours of directive to come out with his hands up. They were not being aggressive. I assume they took the actions that they did because they had reason to believe he was armed or he showed them that he was.” said neighbor Emily Simpson
A police K-9 officer was also injured; officers believe he was cut by debris inside the home. The dog needed stitches but is expected to be okay.
Four officers have been placed on paid administrative leave as the investigation continues, which is standard policy with any officer involved shooting. The Adams County Critical Incident Team is currently in charge of the investigation and once complete, it is up to the Adams County District Attorney to determine the lawfulness of the officers’ actions.
Jamie Leary joined the CBS4 team in 2015. She is currently the morning show reporter, which means she is always on the go, covering a wide variety of breaking local news and important local events. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @JamieALeary.