A Colorado man accused police in Greenwood Village of being "paramilitary thugs" after they blew up his home while trying to catch a gun-toting shoplifter who had decided to hide out there.
"There was one gunman with a handgun and they chose to turn this house into something that resembles Osama Bin Laden's compound," Leo Lech explained to KMGH.
Robert Jonathan Seacat, 33, had allegedly picked Lech's home at random last Wednesday when he was on the run from police who suspected him of shoplifting. Seacat was said to have opened fire on officers as they tried to apprehend him.
Although a 9-year-old boy was inside the home when Seacat entered, negotiators were able to convince him to let the boy go.
According to a SWAT spokesperson, officers were able to end the 20-hour standoff by using flash-bangs, chemical agents and a "breaching ram" to enter the home.
Lech, however, said that it looked more like the home he had recently purchased for his son's family to live in had been in a war zone.
"There was obviously some kind of explosive that was fired into here," Lech pointed out.
KMGH reported that nearly every room in the second floor of the home had holes blown into the walls.
"When they used the explosives to blow apart the side of this house here, they broke our windshield," a neighbor told the station.
"There are holes just like this one all through the back of the house too," Lech added. "They methodically fired explosives into every room in this house in order to extract one person. Granted, he had a handgun, but against 100 officers? You know, the proper thing to do would be to evacuate these homes around here, ensure the safety of the homeowners around here, fire some tear gas through the windows. If that didn’t work, you have 50 SWAT officers with body armor break down the door."
Lech speculated that the SWAT team could have limited damage to $10,000 by using appropriate force, instead of the $250,000 that he estimated it was going to take to rebuild the home.
The homeowner said that he confronted the chief of the Greenwood Village Police Department, telling him, "In any civilized nation ... this is the act of paramilitary thugs."
But the chief shrugged off the criticism, he recalled.
Although insurance was expected to pay for most of the structural damage, he said that his son did not have a rental insurance policy to cover belongings.
"There was an engagement ring in there that would have been John's great-great grandmother's. It survived two World Wars, OK, but it didn’t survive the American police paramilitary operation."