Police draw guns on suspect
May 1, 2002
Aspen police, with guns drawn, pulled a man from his vehicle on Saturday afternoon after one officer reported seeing the man driving “erratically” on Highway 82.
According to Lt. Leon Murray, police officers pulled their guns after they stopped the man on Main Street, next to 1st Street. Murray said the man had been following too closely and making illegal lane changes.
Six police officers responded to the scene, and Murray said there was concern for the suspect’s well-being based on his erratic behavior when they approached the vehicle.
The suspect was “unresponsive” to the officers’ demands, staring straight ahead and keeping his doors locked when officers approached his car. Murray also said the suspect attempted to hide his identity by covering his face with a hat and clothing.
Police blocked the suspect’s car, and some officers had guns drawn and pointed at the suspect while others used a “slim jim” to unlock the car doors and remove the man from his vehicle.
Main Street was blocked off for a short time during the incident, at around 1:35 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.
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“Steps are being taken to look into the cause of his behavior, and the situation is ongoing,” Murray said. “Therefore we can’t release his name.”
The man was taken to Aspen Valley Hospital for an evaluation to see if he was wounded, and was then issued two traffic citations and released to another agency.
“Generally, in a situation like this where a person is unresponsive to direct comments and questions, tries to cover his identity up and displays erratic behavior, we don’t know what next step may be taken toward us,” Murray said. “Sometimes we have to display our weapons in public, and it’s not something we enjoy. But we train for those situations and we have to be safe.”
Aspen Police Chief Loren Ryerson said he did receive several comments from eyewitnesses about the incident.
“We take these circumstances very seriously,” he said. “We don’t do it capriciously.”