Update: We're getting more information about yesterday's arrest of Charles Belter, who allegedly prompted a lockdown and a series of reverse-911 calls in the vicinity of the Edge Ice Arena.
Why? According to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, Belter threatened his ex-wife with a handgun in the venue's parking lot.
Belter left the area on foot around 2 p.m. before deputies arrived, prompting a search of the areas employing officers and K-9 units. He was ultimately located at approximately 4:15 p.m. in Lakewood near the intersection of 2nd Avenue and Hoyt Street -- a very long way from the Edge, which is in the vicinity of Ken-Caryl Ranch. At this point, he's being held without bond on an array of charges, including suspicion of first-degree kidnapping, felony menacing, harassment-stalking and violation of a protection order. He's slated to make his next court appearance on July 13.
Look below to see a larger version of Belter's mug shot, followed by our earlier coverage:
Original item, 7:51 a.m. July 8: Over the years, I've frequently -- way too frequently -- received midday calls from my twin daughters asking why their school had been locked down. Given that they graduated from Chatfield High School in May, I thought I'd heard the last of such questions. But then yesterday, one of them phoned to ask why a day camp had been locked down. The answer? Charles Belter.
My daughters, Ellie and Lora, and my son, Nick, are all toiling this summer at various Foothills District day camps in southwestern Jefferson County -- and just after 2 p.m. yesterday, Ellie was on the job at her usual spot when she learned that the Ridge Recreation Center, where Nick works with five- and six-year-olds nicknamed "hoppers," had been locked down, but no one knew why.
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To find out, I phoned Jefferson County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Jacki Kelley, who's grown accustomed to hearing from me about such reports. After all, I'd phoned regarding the April 20 lockdown caused by Earl Moore's alleged bombing of Southwest Plaza and one involving a misunderstanding at Stony Creek Elementary the next day. At the point I reached Kelley yesterday, the news had just broken: All she could tell me was that a man with a gun had been spotted near the Ridge, prompting the lockdown and reverse-911 calls to people in the immediate vicinity to lock their doors and stay inside.
Gradually, however, more information came out. Seems a man had been spotted with a gun outside the Edge Ice Arena, which is part of the same complex as the Ridge, and Jeffco law enforcers were actively searching for him.
Meanwhile, Nick, who'd been scheduled to work the 3 p.m.-6 p.m. shift at the Ridge, arrived to find his way blocked by a police barricade. So he returned home and called to discover that the hoppers had been on a field trip, and due to the lockdown, they'd been taken to another camp -- the one where Ellie works. He met them there and completed his shift, by which time officers had arrested the suspect, subsequently identified as Belter, age fifty. According to 9News, he'd showed up at the Edge packing heat because his estranged wife was inside.
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In the end, fortunately, Belter didn't use his weapon on anyone -- but the incident did manage to freak out parents and kids. No matter how many times such lockdowns occur in the area, they can't help echoing with the memories stirred by the 1999 Columbine shootings. My kids were in elementary school during that particular lockdown, but they still remember it vividly. And happenings like yesterday's bring it all back.
Look below to see a 9News report about Belter:
More from our Media archive: "Columbine and the struggle for perspective ten years later."