GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. (CBS4)– The Greenwood Police Department defended the actions of its officers during a 20-hour standoff last week that left a home, where a barricaded shoplifting suspect had taken refuge, destroyed.
“I made the right call because we’re standing here instead of standing over a casket,” said Greenwood Village Police Cmdr. Dustin Varney.
Police believe they executed the standoff, which ended with the capture of the suspect with no one injured, tactically well. The homeowner disagrees, calling it a blatant example of excessive force because there was only one suspect inside with a handgun.
“Property is the last on the list of priority of life. That doesn’t mean we diminish the need to protect property but property is not our concern. It’s a concern but it’s at the bottom of that list,” said Varney.
Varney was in charge of the standoff last Thursday from the moment the suspect tried to steal a car out of the garage at the home. That’s when he said the first shot was fired.
“An attempted homicide on a police officer hitting he Aurora Police Department car as the Aurora Police officer was exiting the patrol vehicle,” said Varney.
The homeowner disagrees with how the events unfolded.
“This is a para-military action, done by para-military thugs. This is not a police force,” said homeowner Leo Lech. “To blow holes in every side of this house for one suspect with a handgun.”
Robert Seacat was holed up in the Greenwood Village home for some 20 hours before officers were able to take him into custody on Thursday.
Police worked with other area law enforcement as a team, trying dozens of techniques to get Seacat, 33, to surrender. A SWAT team was sent into the house after nine hours.
“He fired several rounds, almost killing a team of eight emergency response operators,” said Varney.
Lech does not agree with police tactics used that included a robot, explosives and a breaching ram that punctured exterior walls.
Before a team would go back inside the home, the decision was made to vent the house so rooms could be viewed more easily from the outside.
“There are things in there that can’t be replaced. You’ve destroyed a family’s life for nothing, absolutely nothing, due to poor decision making on the part of government officials,” said Lech.
“My job and my goal and my mission is to get him to surrender, to save his life, not to take his life and to make sure police officers do not get shot in the process,” said Varney.
Police said five casings fired by Seacat have been recovered from inside the home.
Seacat remained in the hospital on Tuesday morning from self-inflicted wounds.
The City of Greenwood Village is working with the homeowner and insurance companies to repair the home and replace the damaged belongings.