Police take man’s threats seriously, end situation without incident

John F. Russell
Members of the Steamboat Springs Police Department and Routt Country Sheriff's Office approach a vehicle in the Walmart store parking lot Monday afternoon. A man in the driver's seat had made statements earlier in the day that he planned to kill himself, and witnesses reported that he had a gun. The officers were able to approach the vehicle and pull the man out without incident.
John F. Russell

— Officers from the Steamboat Springs Police Department and Routt County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of an “armed” man threatening to harm himself in the Walmart parking lot Monday afternoon.

The man was seated in a Subaru Forester that was parked between Walmart and Anytime Fitness. Initial reports indicated the man had a gun in his lap.

When police arrived on scene, they limited traffic in the area. Plainclothes officers evaluated the scene and noticed that the man had a sleeping bag pulled over his head and seemed to be napping. Officers wearing bullet-proof vests and armed with automatic rifles and hand guns, quickly approached the vehicle and pulled the man from the driver’s side without incident.

“We got a call that there was a male party that made threats of harming himself, and the reports were that he had a weapon with him so we came prepared,” Interim Steamboat Springs Police Chief Jerry Delong said. ”That’s why you saw us with the (assault rifles ) that we needed to contact him to make sure that — one — he was OK and then to limit the exposure to everyone else. That’s why we did what we did.”

DeLong said officers did not immediately find a weapon in the car. However, he said they took the report of a hand gun very seriously and took appropriate steps to protect themselves as they approached the vehicle and to protect private citizens in the very public place.

“We tried shutting off the ingress into the parking lot as best we could and then formulated a plan to come up to the car and contact the individual,” DeLong said. “It was the best possible outcome for everybody involved.”

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966

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