Man found dead from gunshot in Basalt
September 8, 2007
ASPEN ” A 50-year-old man burning on the front lawn of a Basalt home near Arbaney Park apparently shot himself in the head early Saturday morning.
Basalt police said the dead man was a felon on probation for a explosives conviction, necessitating the need for a bomb squad.
Sgt. Mark Langford was the first to respond to numerous 911 calls of multiple shots fired just before 5 a.m. Saturday. When he arrived, one side of a Basalt duplex ” 26A Riversedge Court ” was on fire and the man was lying dead on the lawn.
Basalt police are not releasing the name of the man or that of the owner of the home where the man died. Police do not know where the man was living or if he was employed.
The woman was not injured, and Langford said no one else was injured. The living room of the home sustained significant fire damage but the other side of the duplex was not burned.
Langford said the house was likely set on fire by the deceased man, who may have set himself on fire in the process.
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“The house was entered by myself and the fire department to put out the fire and cool down the embers,” Langford said. “We investigated it like a homicide investigation.”
Police now believe that the man was coming to the house to “do harm to [owner] and the plan didn’t work out to his benefit.” Langford said Basalt Police Chief Keith Ikeda interviewed the woman who owns the home soon after the fire and said there was some kind of relationship between the woman and man.
Further, Ikeda learned the name of the man and that he has an extensive criminal record, including felony convictions in the valley. Perhaps most importantly, police found that the man was on probation for a federal felony involving possessing explosives.
Upon finding out about the explosives charge, police called in the Grand Junction Hazardous Material Response Team, basically a bomb squad.
“Before we could process anything we had to get a bomb team up from Grand Junction,” Langford said, mentioning that the team did not arrive until 3 p.m. “We were able to process the body after they arrived.”
Basalt police also called in the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to help with what is still considered a homicide.
While police waited for the bomb squad to arrive, Eagle County sheriff’s deputies and Basalt police canvassed the nearby area and soon found the man’s car, a blue Subaru Legacy. The Grand Junction bomb team eventually looked over the car as well, after it was impounded.