GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. - "There was one gunman with a handgun and they chose to turn this house into something that resembles Osama Bin Laden's compound."
Leo Lech is more than a little upset, and he is not afraid to express it with colorful language.
After all, the house he purchased for his son now has gaping holes where it once had walls and windows. Past the exposed studs and insulation of the condemned structure, you can see artwork on the wall of a 9-year-old boy's bedroom.
"In any civilized nation ... this is the act of paramilitary thugs," he says he told the chief of the Greenwood Village Police Department.
The chief, Lech said, brushed it off.
The damage was inflicted by police and SWAT officers who were working to capture Robert Jonathan Seacat, a suspected 33-year-old shoplifter who allegedly barged into a random home Wednesday afternoon, and opened fire on police when they tried to arrest him a short time later.
The incident began Wednesday afternoon, when he was allegedly spotted shoplifting in Aurora. Seacat then drove to a nearby light rail station, where he ditched his car and ran.
There was obviously some kind of explosive that was fired into here," Lech said, showing 7NEWS anchor Anne Trujillo the cavernous hole in the wall that used to protect the boy's bedroom.
Those holes are visible in nearly every room on the second floor.
A neighbor, who says the SWAT team used his home as a base of operations, points out that whatever the police used to blast the holes sent debris flying.
"When they used the explosives to blow apart the side of this house here, they broke our windshield," the neighbor said. blockquote>
His insurance will pay for the structure, but Lech's son did not have rental insurance and the possessions inside are therefore not being covered.Interestingly, in a related story the Greenwood Village Police Commander said that the department followed "textbook" procures and that the department won because the got the suspect out alive.
"I value life more than property and I would hope you guys do the same," Varney told news reporters. "I could easily have instituted a plan to go in there, I assure you, in the first 15 minutes. But with that comes a cost, the cost of being reckless, probably not serving the community like you're supposed to and, even worse, that cost is possibly going to be possibly officers being shot. I refuse to do that on a sole barricaded gunman when I've got time on my side, and I've got more than enough tactics and resources in hopes to outlast him."
The city manager echoed Varney's viewpoint.
"I'm thankful we're not making funeral arrangements today as a result of the armed, barricaded individual who attempted to murder our police officers," said Greenwood Village City Manager Jim Sanderson.After this story received some national attention, and the Greenwood Village police tactics subject to severe criticism, the city is now singing a slightly different tune, offering Lech and his renter and the neighbors some financial assistance.
The city said it will pay insurance deductibles for anyone from the surrounding homes in the 4200 block of Alton Street who suffered property damage during the 18-hour standoff that started Wednesday.
Greenwood Village had also offered to pay the homeowner, Leo Lech's, deductible and pay the tenant, Lech's son, until he can find new housing. The city offered the son $5,000 for temporary housing.