Suicide threats tie up police

Four-hour standoff ends peacefully


— A four-hour standoff ended peacefully Saturday night when a suicidal Steamboat Springs woman was taken into custody by Steamboat Springs police officers.

The incident began at about 5:45 p.m. Saturday when the father of the 27-year-old woman called police to report that his daughter was threatening to commit suicide, police Capt. Joel Rae said. The man told police that his daughter had an argument with her boyfriend earlier in the evening and that the incident had upset her. The woman's father became concerned when his daughter left her Fish Creek Falls mobile-home park residence with her 6-year-old son, Rae said.

Officers located the woman's car in front of the Egg & I restaurant in the Sundance at Fish Creek shopping center. Officers approached the vehicle, and the woman told them she had a .38-caliber revolver and was threatening to commit suicide, Rae said.

The unidentified woman barricaded herself and her son in her maroon Subaru Legacy.

About one hour into the standoff, the vehicle's driver's door opened, and the woman's son ran from the car and into the arms of a nearby police officer. The child later was released to his family.

The woman remained in the car, and police officers -- with their guns drawn -- spent the next three hours trying to talk her out of killing herself.

The woman did not have a cell phone and refused to accept a cell phone offered to her by police, Rae said. Officers used a public address system to communicate with her.

At about 10 p.m., the officers and mental health officials were able to persuade the woman to leave her car, at which point she was handcuffed and taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center for a psychiatric evaluation, Rae said.

Police Officer Mark Mackey and Sgt. Rich Brown were the negotiators during the standoff.

A search of the woman's car did not turn up a gun or any other weapon, Rae said. The woman's boyfriend said he found her gun in a safe in her home.

"Overall, the situation went well," Rae said. "It was a successful ending. This is the way you want it to end -- everyone was safe."

Neither the woman nor her boyfriend will face criminal charges, Rae said. Officers went to the woman's home Friday night after reports of domestic violence.

The standoff closed Anglers Drive from U.S. Highway 40 to Rollingstone Drive for the duration of the incident. Officers also evacuated the Sundance at Fish Creek shopping center, which houses several restaurants.

"Some of the open businesses did lose some business, but we couldn't do anything about that. We couldn't move the incident somewhere else," Rae said.

About 10 police officers, as well as law enforcement personnel from the Routt County Sheriff's Office, the Colorado State Patrol and Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue, responded to the incident, Rae said. Steamboat Mental Health personnel also were on scene.

"It was a great team effort. When these types of things happen, you can never have enough people," he said.

Officers responded to a similar call about a year ago when a suicidal woman locked herself in her car in the Central Park Plaza parking lot. That incident ended peacefully, as well.

-- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail


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