“This is a para-military action, done by para-military thugs. This is not a police force”
An aggravated Colorado homeowner says a SWAT team raid left his home worse off than Seal Team 6 members left Osama Bin Laden’s compound.
Greenwood Village resident Leo Lech’s home was the scene of a SWAT standoff last Thursday when a shoplifting suspect randomly ran inside his home to barricade himself from police.
The wanted man, Robert Seacat, 33, was pursued by officers after being suspected of stealing from a local Walmart.
A nine-year-old boy, who was home when Seacat arrived, managed to dial 911 and escape, just as the suspect entered the residence and proceeded to hole up for close to 19 hours.
Police evacuated seven nearby homes amid the standoff, in which Seacat exchanged fire with officers, and exhausted various methods in attempts to extract the suspect, “including using a robot, explosives and chemicals,” according to CBS Denver.
When all was said and done, Lech’s home looked like it’d been in a fight with a tornado and lost.
“This is a para-military action, done by para-military thugs. This is not a police force,” Lech told CBS. “To blow holes in every side of this house for one suspect with a handgun.”
“If you look at the photos of Osama Bin Laden’s compound, I would say his house looks better than mine does,” the man said.
Pictures reveal a busted down main door, gunshots dotting the inside of Lech’s home and entire sections of walls missing.
“There was obviously some kind of explosive that was fired into here,” Lech described to KMGH.
Explosives also sent pieces of Lech’s home into his neighbor’s yard.
“When they used the explosives to blow apart the side of this house here, they broke our windshield,” a neighbor claimed.
Police explained the extraordinary event required extraordinary measures, but Lech was upset the City didn’t immediately agree to cover the damage.
“These incidents don’t happen every single day,” said Assistant to the City Manager Matt Cohrs. “Every incident is different and that’s why there’s a process that you follow and referring it to our insurance carrier already and beginning the work through that process.”
The explanation and reassurances did little to quell Lech’s frustration.
“They methodically fired explosives into every room in this house in order to extract one person,” Lech stated. “Granted, he had a handgun, but against 100 officers? You know, the proper thing to do would be to evacuate these homes around here, ensure the safety of the homeowners around here, fire some tear gas through the windows. If that didn’t work, you have 50 SWAT officers with body armor break down the door.”
“There are things in there that can’t be replaced,” Lech added. “You’ve destroyed a family’s life for nothing, absolutely nothing, due to poor decision making on the part of government officials.”
According to CBS, Lech’s homeowner’s insurance may not cover the damage because of a clause that exempts “incompetent government” acts.
Video at link:
GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. - "There was one gunman with a handgun and they chose to turn this house into something that resembles Osama Bin Laden's compound."
Leo Lech is more than a little upset, and he is not afraid to express it with colorful language.
After all, the house he purchased for his son now has gaping holes where it once had walls and windows. Past the exposed studs and insulation of the condemned structure, you can see artwork on the wall of a 9-year-old boy's bedroom.
"In any civilized nation ... this is the act of paramilitary thugs," he says he told the chief of the Greenwood Village Police Department.
The chief, Lech said, brushed it off.
The damage was inflicted by police and SWAT officers who were working to capture Robert Jonathan Seacat, a suspected 33-year-old shoplifter who allegedly barged into a random home Wednesday afternoon, and opened fire on police when they tried to arrest him a short time later.
The incident began Wednesday afternoon, when he was allegedly spotted shoplifting in Aurora. Seacat then drove to a nearby light rail station, where he ditched his car and ran.
Eventually, he ran into Lech's house on South Alton Street in Greenwood Village, where the 9-year-old boy was inside. Police dispatchers and the child's mother, who is engaged to Lech's son, talked the child out of the house.
The boy was unhurt, but the standoff was just beginning.
Seacat wasn't taken into custody until Thursday morning. The SWAT team said it used chemical agents, flash-bang grenades and a "breaching ram" to end the nearly 20-hour standoff.
"There was obviously some kind of explosive that was fired into here," Lech said, showing 7NEWS anchor Anne Trujillo the cavernous hole in the wall that used to protect the boy's bedroom.
Those holes are visible in nearly every room on the second floor.
A neighbor, who says the SWAT team used his home as a base of operations, points out that whatever the police used to blast the holes sent debris flying.
"When they used the explosives to blow apart the side of this house here, they broke our windshield," the neighbor said.
"There are holes just like this one all through the back of the house too," Lech said. "They methodically fired explosives into every room in this house in order to extract one person. Granted, he had a handgun, but against 100 officers? You know, the proper thing to do would be to evacuate these homes around here, ensure the safety of the homeowners around here, fire some tear gas through the windows. If that didn’t work, you have 50 SWAT officers with body armor break down the door."
Lech estimated roughly that his plan would have caused $10,000 in damage, as opposed to the $250,000 in damage he believes he is facing.
"This is an abomination," he said. "This is an atrocity. To use this kind of force against one gunman."
Lech explains that he had owned the home for two years and rented it to his son. It is now uninhabitable and may need to be completely leveled.
His insurance will pay for the structure, but Lech's son did not have rental insurance and the possessions inside are therefore not being covered.
"There was an engagement ring in there that would have been John's great-great grandmother's. It survived two World Wars, OK, but it didn’t survive the American police paramilitary operation."