Police spent almost four hours negotiating with an ax-wielding man suspected of threatening his neighbors Tuesday in north Durango.
The standoff began about 6:45 p.m. at the Aspen Village Apartments, 2970 Main Ave., where police responded to a report of a man who was making noise and causing a disturbance.
Police arrived to learn Kyle Grimes, 29, allegedly threatened neighbors earlier in the day with sticks, including one that had a chain on the end, said Cmdr. Nick Stasi with the Durango Police Department.
Police attempted to speak with Grimes, but he closed his apartment door and refused to speak with them, Stasi said. While interviewing neighbors about the disturbance, Grimes began yelling, screaming and banging on his apartment door, Stasi said.
“While we were there, he’s yelling and screaming and you can hear metal-on-metal banging,” Stasi said. “He had some axes and he was hitting the ax against his metal-steel door and other parts of his unit.”
Out of concern for his neighbors, police remained on scene to address the situation, he said.
“At one point, (Grimes) menaced one of our officers by raising an ax handle over his head and making a gesture like he was going to swing and hit the officer with it,” Stasi said. “And then later he made a gesture that he was going to throw an ax at a couple of officers that were down the walkway from him.”
Police determined the man was experiencing a mental health crisis and began a “lengthy” negotiation process with him, Stasi said.
The police department also involved its CORE team, which pairs mental health providers with officers to help de-escalate certain situations.
“His behavior was indicative of a mental health issue,” Stasi said.
It was not immediately known if drugs or alcohol played a role.
While barricaded inside his apartment, Grimes smashed out his own windows, Stasi said.
Police eventually obtained an arrest warrant and a search warrant and forced their way into the man’s apartment, where he was arrested without further incident, Stasi said.
“He didn’t resist, there were no injuries, there was no Taser or anything else used for him,” he said.
The four-hour standoff made for a disruptive evening for neighbors, Stasi said, but he thanked residents for their patience.
“Our priority is always the preservation of life,” he said. “We worked slowly and deliberately to decrease the chance of needing to use force that could injure the suspect or one of our officers. In the end, we were successful with that goal and nobody was injured.”
Grimes was being held Wednesday at the La Plata County Jail on suspicion of felony menacing, with additional charges expected, Stasi said. His bail was set at $25,000.