Police respond to Walmart Parking lot after man makes threats to harm himself
Steamboat Springs — Officers from the Steamboat Springs Police Department and Routt County Sheriffs office successfully ended a tense situation with a man who had made threats to harm himself in the Walmart parking lot Monday afternoon.
Law enforcement officers responded to the parking lot shortly after noon Monday after people reported that an “armed” man, seated in a Subaru Forester parked between Walmart and the Anytime Fitness buildings had threatened to harm himself. Initial reports stated that the man had a gun in his lap.
When police arrived they limited traffic in the area around where the man was parked attempting not to draw attention to themselves in the process. Plain clothed officers evaluated the scene, and noticed that the man had a sleeping bag pulled over his head and seemed to be napping. The officers dressed in bullet proof vests and armed with automatic rifles and hand guns, took advantage of the man’s rest time to quickly approach the vehicle, and pull 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 okay, and then to limited 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, they took the reports 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.”
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After several Steamboat Springs Transit drivers caught COVID-19 recently, the operation had to adjust its routes around New Year’s celebrations and The MusicFest at Steamboat, two of the city’s busiest weeks of the year.