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Man suspected of burglary stopped by Durango police

By Shane Benjamin Herald staff writer

The Durango Police Department shot a man with “less lethal” bean-bag rounds Wednesday after he reportedly broke into a house armed with a screwdriver and a knife.

The incident occurred about 3:15 p.m. at 1020½ Main Ave. in an apartment accessible from the east alley behind Carver Brewing Co.

The suspect was identified as Matthew Bennett Smith, 39. His hometown was not immediately available.

Possible charges included burglary and felony menacing, said Durango police Sgt. Rita Warfield.

A man and a woman heard Smith enter their apartment, she said. They locked themselves in a bedroom and called police. He had a knife in one hand and a screwdriver in the other, Warfield said.

He locked the front door once inside.

Police forced the door open and ordered Smith to drop the knife and screwdriver and ordered him to lay on the ground. He did not follow orders, and one of three uniformed officers shot him with a bean-bag round, Warfield said. The man continued to disregard orders, so police shot him a second time.

He was taken into custody at 3:29 p.m.

The occupants of the apartment did not know Smith, Warfield said. But they knew he was in the area, and they were fearful of him, she said. He appeared intoxicated and possibly under the influence of drugs, she said.

Police took Smith to Mercy Regional Medical Center, which is standard procedure after a suspect has been shot with less-lethal rounds.


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