Paul Staffin allegedly pulled pellet gun on kid playing tag: Get off my lawn!
Paul Staffin, 67, appears to have conformed to pretty much every known stereotype about older homeowners when he allegedly pointed a pellet gun at a kid who'd strayed onto his lawn. But the story spelled out in a Boulder Police Department report on view below subsequently took a weird turn before winding up in an arrest and an apology, in that order.
According to the report narrative, police were called to a home on Tincup Court at around 8 p.m. this past Friday. There, an officer met with a mom who said she'd hosted a birthday party for a group of kids in the twelve-year age range when something had gone wrong -- an observation confirmed by one freaked-out kid.
The boy said that he and seven or eight other pals were playing tag in the nearby cul de sac, and he was "it." But while he was in one particular yard, a man grabbed him by the arm, pulled him around, pointed a gun at him and repeatedly yelled, "You could be dead!" He then dragged the apologetic boy off his lawn and about halfway back to the party house before setting him free. At that point, he burst into tears -- and after making sure he was okay and hearing what had happened, the mom called 911.
Before long, the officer determined that the home where the incident had taken place belonged to Staffin, who had a reputation for screeching at anyone who wandered onto his property, including his own grandchildren. However, he didn't appear to be home, and his phone went unanswered.
Denver Outlaws / Major League Lacrosse All Star Game
TicketsSat., Dec. 29, 6:00pm
The next day, police returned to Staffin's place, and this time he came to the door and let officers inside. When one of them said he'd like to talk about the previous night's happening, Staffin replied, "You mean the prowler?" He claimed someone had knocked at his door last night, but he hadn't answered because he'd had problems with scofflaws in the past.
In an attempt to get Staffin back on track, the officer noted that he was investigating a report of a man who'd pointed a gun at a twelve-year old, and asked if he'd been on the other side of the barrel. "Absolutely not," Staffin allegedly replied. But he was less firm when the officer asked about a bandage and splint he wore on his left hand and wrist, and for good reason. He eventually admitted to phonying up the wound, and cooking up a tale about him injuring it by slipping on ice, so he wouldn't seem capable of drawing down on a kid.
The gun fired pellets, not bullets, Staffin pointed out, stressing that "I never was going to hurt anyone." However, he went on, "those kids harass me. They throw snowballs at my house and bother me.... I just went out there with the gun to scare him from my yard. So I pointed it at him and I took a swipe at him with my foot, but I don't think I even connected."
Staffin didn't make these comments with pride. Upon being taken to Boulder County Jail, he wrote a brief voluntary statement that reads, "I sincerely regret my lapse in judgement in this incident. I have been harassed by the teens on the street with snowballs, trespass, etc. In this case, I snapped and took inappropriate action. I regret my actions in this case."
No doubt Staffin hopes this statement is taken into account during the fallout from his arrest on suspicion of felony menacing and harassment. And let that be a lesson to the rest of you: Better to shake your fist than pull a gat.
Look below to see Staffin's booking photo, followed by the arrest report and his voluntary statement.
Follow and like the Michael Roberts/Westword Facebook page.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Robert Wallace shooting: Make My Day law meets Gran Torino."
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Denver, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.