Judge orders man to pay for repairs to apartment in Avon
January 16, 2015
AVON — Brent Schoen holed up all night in an apartment during an armed standoff with the local SWAT team.
Among the problems: It wasn't his apartment.
Schoen said in court Wednesday that he didn't hear the sirens or SWAT team, saying he was on medication for jaw surgery.
The April 22 incident ended peacefully, which means no one was injured — but the apartment was trashed by tear gas and flash bangs, and, prosecutors say, Schoen's own rampage.
The apartment's owner, Sara Paulson, said Schoen should help pay for the damage, and District Court Judge Paul Dunkelman agreed.
Along with a nine-month deferred jail sentence, Schoen will spend two years on probation and pay $5,130 for the repairs, the amount that Paulson's insurance doesn't cover.
Schoen was remorseless in Wednesday's sentencing hearing, which was not lost on Dunkelman.
"A couple things cry out. I don't see you stepping up and taking responsibility in any way for this incident," Dunkelman said.
If Schoen violates his probation, then he goes straight to jail.
"A deferred can be a gift, or it can be a delay to the Department of Corrections," Dunkelman said. "You have a felony hanging over your head. You've been here several times and seen people sent to the Department of Corrections for things like this."
Schoen said about $3,000 of his personal items are still in Paulson's apartment.
"My impression is that she thinks she's getting some sort of compensation by keeping some my personal property," Schoen said to Dunkelman.
Flash bangs and tear gas
In early April, Paulson needed a roommate. With the ski season winding down, Schoen needed a place to live. He moved in nine days before the April 22, armed standoff, police reports said.
Schoen had been the subject of two other police calls that day for what witnesses described as "erratic behavior," said Avon Police Chief Bob Ticer.
While there was nothing criminal about those incidents, Schoen upped the stakes with the third call.
Around 9:30 p.m., Schoen was on the deck outside an Avon coffee shop and pizza joint, when he picked up a backpack. Another patron asked Schoen if it was his and asked what he was doing. The man said Schoen waved a metal baton at him and threatened to kill him and his dog. The man called 911. In court Wednesday, Schoen denied saying that.
Schoen then returned to the apartment. Avon police contacted the neighbors in the apartment building and all but one decided to remain in their apartments.
While negotiators tried to talk with Schoen, they watched through the apartment windows as he walked back and forth from room to room.
He screamed that they needed a warrant. They told him they had one and that he needed to come out.
During the night, Schoen barricaded himself in the apartment with a shotgun, police said.
The SWAT team fired flash bangs into the apartment, but Schoen refused to exit.
Just before 6:30 a.m., the SWAT team fired tear gas canisters through the windows, which left some holes in the walls of both bedrooms. Again, Schoen refused to leave, police said.
However, when he stepped into the front doorway with a screwdriver in his hand, one of the SWAT team members fired two beanbag rounds from a 12-gauge shotgun. One struck Schoen in the hand.
Schoen surrendered to police shortly thereafter and was booked into Eagle County jail.
A different version
In court Wednesday, Schoen gave a different version of events. He said he'd just had jaw surgery and that he had taken his medications. He said he did not hear the sirens or the SWAT team, that he did not shout at them and that he'd had an allergic reaction to the medication taken before surgery.
He says he kept his grandfather's shotgun beside his bed for safety, but did not walk out the door or around the apartment with a weapon in his hand.
Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Wiard referred to a video of the entire incident that showed Schoen doing that and more.
"He was not asleep; he was walking around the apartment carrying that shotgun. A video of the incident clearly features Schoen shouting," Wiard said. "He refused to come out. He broke things. He caused things to get to the point that they did."
Paulson said she now lives in fear of the unknown.
"She says this has changed her life. She's on the verge of losing her home. She can't get a roommate and is having trouble being able to afford the repairs," Wiard said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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