Update: Yesterday morning, we told you about the anger and frustration felt by John Lech and Anna Mumzhiyan, who lived in a Greenwood Village home (along with Anna's nine-year-old son) that was destroyed in a SWAT team standoff focused on the capture of Walmart shoplifter Robert Seacat; see our previous coverage below.
Lech and Mumzhiyan, who were renting the residence from Lech's father, Leo Lech, said they were essentially homeless because use of explosives and tools such as a breaching ram had rendered the residence uninhabitable — and they said no Greenwood Village officials had reached out to offer any assistance.
The resulting publicity, most of it terrible, appears to have goaded Greenwood Village into action. Last night, the city staged a press conference during which police representatives defended the tactics deployed during the twenty-hour ordeal as a "textbook" operation.
However, the city manager also offered assistance to John, Anna and Leo in regard to the shambles they left behind.
Greenwood Village Police Commander Dustin Varney said that suspect Robert Seacat, a 33-year-old with four drug-related warrants pending in his name, had "burrowed himself in like a tick" at the home on the 4200 block of South Alton Street, in which he'd taken refuge after being chased by police — and after brandishing a weapon that he later fired in the direction of officers.
Nonetheless, Varney maintained the actions that followed were necessitated by a concern for Seacat's welfare, and that of his officers.
"I value life more than property and I would hope you guys do the same," Varney told media outlets such as 7News. "I could easily have instituted a plan to go in there, I assure you, in the first fifteen 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."
Varney added that Seacat had more than 300 grams of meth in his possession, and the cops think he was dipping into his stash throughout the day, night and morning that he refused to cooperate with authorities — use that could have made his behavior erratic, unpredictable and dangerous.
About seventeen hours in (after moves such as cutting power to the neighborhood failed to have any significant impact), the large contingent of cops on the scene decided to use explosive charges, which are said to have been "surgically placed."
That surgery blew one hole after another into the home — but in the end, Seacat was captured alive.
Afterward, Leo Lech issued some blasts of his own, dubbing the tactics "an abomination" and "an atrocity." But despite such invective, Greenwood Village City Manager Jim Sanderson said this at the news conference: "We're working through the process to secure appropriate insurance claims and coordinating with the Mayor and the City Council to provide temporary housing for the renter until they can find a new home to rent, and to pay insurance deductibles for those citizens who have to file a claim as a result of this incident."
As well they should. Here are two 7News videos: the first an overall report about the press conference, the second focusing on statements made by Varney. That's followed by our previous coverage.
Update, 7:28 a.m. June 8: As soon as we saw the incredible damage done at a Greenwood Village home amid a SWAT team standoff last Thursday, June 4 — see our previous coverage below — we were curious to find out how the residents felt about the shambles left following the capture of alleged Walmart shoplifter Robert Seacat.
Now we know. They're pissed.
The home was occupied by Anna Mumzhiyan, her fiance John Lech and her nine-year-old son.
Operative word: "was." That's because the abode is completely uninhabitable — and in an interview with Fox31, the couple insists that Greenwood Village officials haven't said "boo" to them about what happened thus far.
"People need to know this is the America we live in right now — that the police will come in and do this to you and leave you high and dry," Lech says.
As we note below, Seacat fled a Walmart near the home midday on Wednesday, June 3, and witnesses saw him with a handgun before he entered the home on the 4200 block of South Alton Street at random.
Inside, he encountered the boy, who was home alone for a short time.
Seacat, who had four drug-related warrants in his name at the time of the incident, "was holding a handgun down at his side and he looked at him and he told him, he said, 'I don't mean you any harm. I don't want to harm anybody,'" Lech recounts.
The nine-year-old escaped the home without physical injury — but after Seacat allegedly fired his gun in the direction of the first responding officers, a SWAT team arrived in force.
What followed was an extended standoff, with Seacat refusing to obey orders and surrender.
Along the way, efforts by his sister to lure him out proved unsuccessful, as did the cutting of electricity in the neighborhood.
Finally, the next morning, approximately twenty hours later, Seacat was taken into custody.
As for the house, which had been bashed with a tool known as a "breaching ram" and had holes ripped into it by explosives during the ordeal, it looked like this:
Given the state of the place, one would assume a representative of Greenwood Village would have contacted Mumzhiyan, Lech or his father, from whom the couple was renting the property.
But Lech insists that hasn't been the case.
"No one has reached out to any of us offering assistance from the city," Lech tells Fox31. "I mean, basically, they came in, they blew up the house, and they said, 'Okay. See you.'"
The couple and Anna's son are staying with relatives at present — but they consider themselves to be essentially homeless.
Look below to see the complete Fox31 package, followed by our original coverage.
Update, 8 a.m. June 5: Yesterday, we told you that a standoff situation in Greenwood Village had finally been resolved after the better part of twenty hours.
See our previous coverage below.
Now, we know the name of the Walmart shoplifter at the center of the incident: Robert Seacat.
In addition, we're getting a closer look at the damage inflicted upon the house by the various law enforcers who brought the episode to a conclusion.
The visuals are shocking.
Here are four more looks at the property, courtesy of 7News.
In our previous coverage, we noted that Greenwood Village Police Chief John Jackson told media on the scene of the standoff, which got underway midday on Wednesday, June 3, and didn't wrap up until about 9 a.m. on Thursday, June 4, that an explosion had opened up a hole in the house.
Much of the other damage was done by an implement known as a "breaching ram."
The owners of the house have not made any public statements yet, but there's no doubt the property is uninhabitable in its present condition.
Meanwhile, law enforcement is justifying its actions because of the danger created by Seacat, who was seen carrying a gun after he fled from the store, where he was suspected of theft, and later squeezed off multiple shots while holed up in the residence, which he's thought to have chosen entirely at random.
Seacat was hospitalized after being taken into custody; we don't know why yet. Here's a look at two of his booking photos, followed by the 7News report from which these images were culled and our previous coverage.
Update, 9:19 a.m. June 4: 7News is reporting that the SWAT team standoff in Greenwood Village involving a Walmart shoplifting suspect who barricaded himself in a house is finally over.
A spokesperson with the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office has confirmed that the suspect is now in custody.
At this writing, the suspect hasn't been identified, and neither have additional details about his capture been released.
We'll share that information after it becomes available. Continue for our previous coverage.
Original post, 5:48 a.m.: At this writing, more than sixteen hours have passed since police engaged a man wanted for shoplifting at a Greenwood Village-area Walmart store.
In and of itself, stealing merchandise from a box store doesn't sound like the crime of the century. But the incident has escalated into a standoff that has yet to be resolved the better part of a day.
The suspect has yet to be identified. His description, as reported by multiple news outlets, including 9News, is a white male around thirty years of age, wearing a red shirt, sunglasses and a black backpack.
Police clearly have a good idea of his identity, given references to his previous criminal history. However, no specifics have been shared at this point.
There are conflicting reports about what time the incident got underway: 9News puts its beginning at around noon on Wednesday, June 3, while 7News and the Denver Post calculate it at closer to 1:30 p.m. But all parties agree that Aurora police responded to a shoplifting call at the Walmart on the 9400 block of East Hampden.
That area is captured in the following interactive graphic. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View on Google Maps."
When the cops arrived, the suspect was fleeing in an uncommonly nice ride for a shoplifter — a Lexus.
He made it to a nearby light-rail station on Dayton Avenue — where witnesses reported seeing him carrying a gun — before entering a random home on the 4200 block of South Alton Street in Greenwood Village. Here's an interactive graphic capturing that area.
A nine-year-old boy was in the home alone when the gunman made his entry. The child managed to call 911 and was told to leave the scene immediately, which he did.
The boy escaped without injury and was quickly reunited with his mother. He's reported to be safe and unharmed — physically, anyhow.
Meanwhile, officers from multiple agencies were deployed on the block and a standoff began.
The events that followed have been marked by shots allegedly fired by the suspect through garage doors (no one was hit and the cops didn't shoot back), the use of flash-bang explosives, the deployment of robots to track the man's whereabouts, the evacuation of several homes and the cutting of power and water to the neighborhood.
These utilities were subsequently returned to service.
Negotiations have taken place at times during the standoff.
For instance, Fox31 reports that the man asked to speak with his sister. She arrived at the scene and is said to have delivered a message of some kind to him. But if this tactic was intended to lead to the man's peaceful surrender, it hasn't happened yet.
In the past hour or so, more action has taken place. This tweet from 9News' Noel Brennan makes note of bangs heard at the end of a press conference with Greenwood Village Police Chief John Jackson:
Will let you know when the situation has been resolved.
Chief says the explosion we just heard opened up a hole in the side of the house. #9NewsMornings— Noel Brennan (@Noeltbrennan) June 4, 2015
Look below to see previous reports about the incident from 7News and Fox31.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.