Burns man gets probation after cops give him his guns back
EAGLE – Six years ago, the Eagle County Sheriff’s office returned a Burns man’s firearms after he finished probation. Now he’s back on probation for having many of those same guns.
Doug Behrends, 41, got two years probation Monday for firearm possession, a misdemeanor. Behrends was originally charged with felony menacing when, three days after he fatally shot Brooks Hampton when he said Hampton, wearing a partial face mask and hoodie, broke into his Burns apartment about 9:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 19.
Hampton had driven to Behrend’s apartment and his car was left there over the weekend.
Around 11:30 a.m., Monday, Dec. 22, two Eagle County Sheriff’s detectives in an unmarked Chevy Tahoe accompanied two of Hampton’s relatives in one of their vehicles to retrieve Brooks’ car.
Behrends said he did recognized the Hamptons’ car, and had no idea who was in that brown Tahoe. He said he’d been threatened during the weekend and had a hunting rifle in his hands as the two vehicles made their way up his driveway.
Behrends dropped the gun and came down the stairs soon as the two detectives turned on the vehicle’s emergency lights, said his attorney Terry O’Connor.
“Mr. Behrends never intended to threaten or harm anyone. He did not know who that was,” O’Connor said. “When they turned on the lights he immediately dropped his weapon.
Behrends was booked on two counts of felony menacing.
O’Connor his client maintains he did nothing wrong and before this technicality surfaced was adamant that was not going to plead guilty to anything.
A National Geographic film crew making a documentary about Rocky Mountain law enforcement was riding with the detectives, but video was not conclusive, O’Connor said.
“The video was inconclusive at best,” O’Connor said.
District Attorney Bruce Brown said the video was clear that Behrends did possess a firearm and that it was pointed in the general direction of the two detectives.
“There were compelling circumstances to do this below the line of criminal culpability,” Brown said. “I know some people will disagree with that assessment, but there are no cookie cutter crimes.”
Fast forward from the mid-December incident to Monday’s hearing. Behrends had had completed probation for a 2007 domestic case. He wasn’t allowed to own firearms, and the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office held his guns while he was on probation.
When he completed his probation he asked the Sheriff’s Office to return his guns, which they did.
However, the other party in that 2007 domestic case also asked for a civil protection order. Even that order may have prohibited Behrends from owning the guns the Sheriff’s Office returned to him, no one thought that order was still in place, O’Connor said.
“He no longer feels this is a safe place for him to be. When he’s allowed to he’s going to leave the area,” O’Connor said. “It has been tough on him. He wants to move forward. He wants his life back.”
“So does my son,” said Brooks Hampton’s mother Glenda.
A week ago Saturday was Brook’s birthday. His mother’s was Sunday. They did what they always did – got together with family and friends and celebrated.
Monday morning they were back in court.
Everything about this case is tragic, District Court Judge Paul Dunkelman said during Monday’s hearing.
“Everyone is going to walk out of this court not feeling good,” Dunkelman said.
Brown said the decision on whether or not Behrends will be charged in the shooting is still pending some evidence analysis by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or email@example.com.