Colo. SWAT leaves standoff to ‘avoid unnecessary confrontation’

Agency officials said the community has made it “very clear” it wants a different police response when “there is a possibility of using serious force”

By Suzie Ziegler 

AURORA, Colo. — A SWAT team engaged in an armed standoff last month decided to walk away, leaving the suspect behind, after four hours, according to CBS4. An agency spokesperson cited a desire to “avoid unnecessary confrontation.” 

The encounter unfolded September 24 when officers surrounded the home of 39-year-old Eric Burns, who was being investigated for felony child abuse, officials told CBS4. Burns was wanted on a misdemeanor domestic violence warrant out of Denver. Police later learned he was also wanted for a felony kidnapping warrant. 

The SWAT team was on the scene for hours, negotiating with Burns to surrender. Authorities said they believed Burns was armed. Burns eventually released his 6-year-old daughter but refused to give himself up. After about four hours, there was a “decision made to vacate,” according to a police report obtained by CBS4. 

The officers left and haven’t been able to locate Burns since the standoff, CBS4 reported. 

The Aurora Police Department released a statement saying in part, “Members of our community and across the nation have made it very clear that they want their police department to respond differently to some incidents, particularly when there is a possibility of using serious force against a subject.” The statement went on to say “avoiding unnecessary confrontations was now a top priority for the department.” 

“Sometimes this means walking away from a situation and utilizing investigative resources to apprehend persons at a later time,” said statement continued.


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