Off-duty Durango officer fires gun at intruder in Forest Lakes house

Unidentified man probably not hit, flees

An off-duty officer with the Durango Police Department shot at – and apparently missed – an intruder at his home early Wednesday in the Forest Lakes subdivision north of Bayfield, authorities said.

Cpl. William Sweetwood and his wife heard their garage door open about 1:30 a.m., said Dan Bender, spokesman with the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office, which investigated the incident.

Sweetwood armed himself with his service handgun and went to investigate while his wife called 911, according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Office.

Sweetwood found a man inside his garage. He fired his gun once at the intruder, but apparently missed. The burglar ducked under a partially open garage door and fled on foot, Bender said.

The suspect was described as about 5 feet 10 inches tall, 170 pounds, and wearing a black T-shirt and tan shorts.

The Sheriff’s Office searched the area, but deputies were unable to locate the suspect.

The burglar gained entry by using a garage-door opener taken from an open window in Sweetwood’s truck, which was parked in the driveway, Bender said.

There was no evidence to indicate the intruder was hit by Sweetwood’s shot.

Durango Police Department is conducting an internal review to determine whether department policies were followed. Sweetwood will remain on patrol duty while the review is conducted, said Lt. Ray Shupe, in a news release.

Anyone who may have seen or heard anything suspicious or who may have other information about the burglary is asked to call sheriff’s Investigator Tom Cowing at 382-7045 or email

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