Calm returns to Steamboat Springs’ library
Altercation, stabbing Monday described as random, isolated incident
April 5, 2011
Steamboat Springs — Tuesday was just another day after school at Bud Werner Memorial Library for Sam McClure.
The Steamboat Springs Middle School seventh-grader said he is at the library five times a week, and he could be found in his usual spot in the teen area playing computer games or working on homework.
"More quiet than usual," Sam said. "Probably because of what happened."
Sam said he had been in the teen reading area a day earlier at about the same time, when he heard noise coming from the balcony above. He would learn later that a classmate had been stabbed in the hands.
"I saw the whole thing from right here," Sam said. "We thought they were playing."
Sam said he saw a man, who had been sleeping by the window, try to lift one of his classmates over the railing.
"Then I saw the blade when he was walking away, and that's when I got scared," Sam said.
Despite the incident Monday, after talking to his parents, Sam was not concerned.
"They said, 'Don't worry, these things don't happen much,'" Sam said.
Police suspect that Adam Crawford Huber, 40, was sleeping in the library, and he woke to confront a group of three boys ages 13 to 16 who witnesses said were being loud and obnoxious.
Steamboat police Detective Dave Kleiber said Tuesday that witnesses said Huber's demeanor was "very calm, very much (matter) of fact, not threatening, not loud."
It is unclear how the situation escalated, Kleiber said, but police think Huber grabbed a boy by the wrist, according to an affidavit filed by Steamboat Springs Police Department officer Doug Scherar. The boys then began laughing at Huber, and Huber put a boy in a headlock, according to the affidavit. At one point, Huber grabbed the boy's legs and tried to throw him over the balcony, the affidavit states. The 14-year-old then jumped on Huber and put him in a headlock. Police think Huber pulled a knife and stabbed the boy in his hands. Huber walked down from the balcony, where library staff met him and escorted him to an office.
The 14-year-old was treated at Yampa Valley Medical Center for puncture wounds to his hands and is expected to recover, Kleiber said.
"His hands are all bandaged up, but he seems to be in pretty good spirits," he said.
Kleiber said Huber was found with a pocketknife and multitool, and he declined to be interviewed by police.
Police and others say Monday's stabbing was a random, isolated incident that could happen anywhere.
"I think Steamboat is part of America, and there are so many people who want to believe you are living in a Shangri-La here, but the same bad things that happen in America happen here, and they happen at about the same frequency in relation to the size of our population," Kleiber said.
Despite Monday's incident, the library was busy with patrons.
"I feel safe in the library like always," Steamboat Springs High School junior Kyle Cavaretta said.
Some parents were still comfortable leaving their teens at the library.
"Both my boys go there all the time, and I have no issues at all," said Dave McClure, Sam's father. "They'll be safe. I'm not feeling uneasy at all."
Library Director Chris Painter described the library as peaceful and calm Tuesday, although senior staff members were in meetings much of the day tending to business and discussing Monday's incident.
Painter said that she was stunned by the incident and that efforts are being made to make sure staff are educated about procedures and how to deal with problems. Painter and police say library staff members should be commended for how they handled the incident.
"A situation like this provides an opportunity for learning," Painter said. "I absolutely want to do everything in my power so people feel safe. It's still our hometown library, and it was a very unusual and random incident and a very unfortunate one."
Huber’s bail set at $100,000
Bail was set at $100,000 Tuesday for the man accused of stabbing a teenager in the hands at Bud Werner Memorial Library.
Huber was arrested Monday on suspicion of second-degree assault and attempted first-degree assault. Both are Class 4 felonies.
Huber appeared in Routt County Court on Tuesday before Judge James Garrecht, who advised Huber of his rights via video conferencing.
The Routt County District Attorney's Office had not filed charges yet, but Deputy District Attorney Rusty Prindle told the court Huber would be charged with second-degree assault.
"There may be additional charges filed, but we will have to review all the reports," Prindle said.
Prindle recommended Huber's bail be set at $20,000.
"I guess I view this more harshly than the DA's office does," Garrecht said. "I'm going to set bond at $100,000."
Huber, who is believed to have lived in Steamboat for about the past year at various locations, had not yet retained a lawyer, and he is scheduled to return to court at 1 p.m. today.
About 20 people who said they were friends and supporters of Huber's — some said they had lived with him — attended Tuesday's hearing. That included Chris Spradlin, pastor of Euzoa Bible Church. Huber had attended his church for about the past year, and Spradlin said he wanted to go to the hearing because he liked Huber.
"I'm not going because I know what happened," Spradlin said. "I said I'm going because I like him and believe in him. He's a pretty good guy. He may have made a dumb decision. I don't know. I guess the courts can figure some of that out."
— To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com