UPDATE: SWAT team called out for reported suspicious man near Red Dirt Hill | SkyHiNews.com

UPDATE: SWAT team called out for reported suspicious man near Red Dirt Hill

This photo of the suspicious subjects vehicle was provided by the Grand County Sheriff's Office and shows the two air rifles, which were initially believed to be standard firearms, on top of the subject's car.
Courtesy photo |

Middle Park’s SWAT team was called out Wednesday night after some citizens in the Red Dirt Hill area reported a suspicious person parked in the Alpine Vista Park mobile home court with what appeared to be guns resting on top of his car, which were later revealed to be air rifles.

A little after 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, Grand County Dispatch received a report of “a suspicious person parked in a vehicle near the intersection of County roads 85 and 87, west of Tabernash, with guns on the top of his car,” according to a statement from the Grand County Sheriff’s Office. “The concerned citizen also indicated that the suspect was not a known resident of the area, and was driving through the neighborhood suspiciously while hiding his face when seen earlier in the day.”

The timing of the citizen’s report, shortly after 4 p.m. — just as local school busses were about to be driving through the area — and the suspicious party’s location, roughly 30 yards from Highway 40, prompted an abundance of caution from local law enforcement officials.

First responders began moving into the area and cordoned off a perimeter around the suspicious party. Highway 40 was shut down and a shelter-in-place Code Red alert was issued to area residents.

A local eyewitness, who watched the events unfold from his nearby residence, told Sky-Hi News that he was coming home from work when he drove past the “suspicious” man’s black vehicle parked in a nearby parking lot with its hood up. The eyewitness said he noticed what appeared to be BB guns on the roof the vehicle.

The eyewitness said he immediately noticed law enforcement officers in the area and was waved into his home by a police sniper who was watching over the scene. From there, the eyewitness watched the events unfold from the front room of his home.

According to the man, not long thereafter the Middle Park SWAT truck pulled up behind the black car and police ordered the man out of the vehicle. The subject complied with orders from law enforcement and was taken into custody peacefully, according to the eyewitness.

“They did a good job,” the eyewitness said of the police response.

The male subject was taken into custody and questioned by law enforcement before being released later in the evening, according to Grand County Undersheriff Wayne Schaffer. The man was not arrested and was not charged with any crimes, though county officials said an investigation into the incident is ongoing.

“This event further demonstrates the ongoing partnership between law enforcement and the Grand County community,” Sheriff Brett Schroetlin stated. “I greatly appreciate our local residents being vigilant and alerting us to this situation. The situation was diffused and the safety of the public was maintained at the highest level thanks to our law enforcement officers.”

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