Man stabs boss, arsons workplace

28 Jul

Molotovs stockpiled in 11-hour standoff

Fires set off propane tank explosions

Denver Post, July 24

aerial view of RV storage facility on fire

KEENESBURG, Colo:

The man who surrendered to authorities early today after a lengthy standoff at a Keenesburg storage facility is accused of stabbing the owner of the complex and setting fire to some of its buildings, Weld County officials said this afternoon.

Richard Charles Norton, 63, allegedly stabbed owner Dan Stallsworth, said Shane Scofield, spokesman for the Weld County Sheriff’s Department.

Both men lived at the storage facility, where Norton worked for the 64-year-old Stallsworth. Norton lived on the property for the last seven years.

The standoff began at about 2:15 p.m. Thursday after Stallsworth was stabbed and Norton allegedly set fires in the facility, authorities say.

During the standoff, propane tanks in the burning buildings would periodically go off, producing fireballs.

Scofield said that deputies tried negotiating with Norton for hours and then entered the building where he was hiding.

During the standoff, Scofield said the Weld County sheriff’s SWAT team used flashbangs and tear gas in an attempt to get Norton to surrender. Norton refused to talk to negotiators after they threw a phone into the building, said Scofield.

SWAT team members eventually breached the fortified building with an explosive.

Inside the building, the SWAT team found two couches soaked in gasoline, four Molotov cocktails with fuses and a gas can with a knife in it. There was concern that Norton would ignite the premises as the SWAT team advanced, said Scofield.

When the SWAT team confronted Norton, he had a “zip gun” in one hand and a claw hammer in the other. He also was carrying a knife, said Scofield.

Officers arrested Norton at about 1:08 a.m. today without incident, said Scofield. For whatever reason, Norton decided to finally comply with SWAT team orders, said Scofield.

Scofield said Norton was booked into the Weld County Jail for investigation of attempted first-degree murder, second-degree arson and four counts of attempted first-degree assault on a peace officer.

Norton also had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for failure to register as a sex offender.

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