Perceived threat leads to Pitkin County human services lockdown

A miscommunication Thursday morning led police to lock down the Pitkin County Health and Human Services Building for about two hours, police said.

The incident began at 9:40 a.m. when a volunteer for Response, which provides assistance to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, called police to report a conversation she’d had with a man who’d recently been served with a restraining order, said Bill Linn, Aspen assistant police chief.

The man told the volunteer about the restraining order, then said he had “a bunch of guns” and “was coming in,” Linn said. That prompted police to lock down the building in the Castle Creek Valley — no one could enter or exit — post officers for security and warn officials at Aspen Valley Hospital next door of the threat, he said.

Meanwhile, officers attempted to track down the man who called, which took a bit of time, Linn said. The man, who lives in the Interstate 70 corridor, later clarified that he hadn’t been trying to threaten anyone and he was instead planning to come to Pitkin County to transfer his guns to a friend for safekeeping, he said.

Those served with restraining orders are not allowed to possess firearms.

“Everyone was super-relieved when we finally sorted that out,” Linn said.

Nan Sundeen, director of Pitkin County Health and Human Services, confirmed the lockdown occurred as a result of a threat, though “it turned out to be not what we thought it was.”

The lockdown occurred at the same time Aspen schools were in a lockdown situation for a different threat that also was later determined not to be credible.

“The chances of both happening on a single day is pretty striking,” Linn said. “Once we got everything resolved, everyone breathed a sigh of relief.”


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