Man in SWAT standoff outside of Breckenridge charged with felony menacing
The man who spurred a 15-hour police standoff outside of his home near Breckenridge has been identified as 64-year-old James Michael Reed. Reed is charged with two counts of menacing, a class-five felony, along with a misdemeanor count of prohibited use of a weapon.
At about 10 p.m. on Oct. 17 deputies from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office responded to a welfare check on a man living on the 500 block of Shekel Lane in unincorporated Summit County, just north of Breckenridge. A family member told officers that the man was heavily intoxicated, and threatening to harm himself and neighbors, according to Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons.
While law enforcement officials were initially unable to make contact with the man, later identified as Reed, the situation quickly began to unravel after he started making threatening phone calls to Summit County Dispatch. The Summit County SWAT Team was dispatched to set up a perimeter around the house, which became the scene of a drawn out stalemate that dragged on well into the next afternoon.
In addition to a large police presence camped outside of the house, text notifications went out to residents in the surrounding area to shelter in place, and several residents in the immediate area were evacuated under a police escort.
At around 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 18, a clearly emotional Reed told police he was coming out.
He emerged from the house and was taken into custody by members of the SWAT team. According to District Attorney Bruce Brown, Reed was transported to a facility that conducts mental health evaluations and treatments for a short time before being released.
Brown noted that he and Reed’s attorney were in communication, and that Reed chose to turn himself in on Oct. 25 once he learned that the district attorney’s office was bringing criminal charges.
“He had an attorney, and there were discussion between his attorney and myself, which is very common in these types of situations,” said Brown. “Once he learned there was a criminal charge, he came in to deal with that and quickly bonded out.”
The district attorney’s office charged Reed with two counts of felony menacing due to his threats made against law enforcement officials and neighbors. Additionally, he was charged with one count of misdemeanor-prohibited use of a weapon for having a firearm in his possession while under the influence.
“What is of elevated seriousness is that the alleged victims are peace officers,” said Brown. “Anytime somebody is threatening a peace officer it is a matter of high importance to my office because they’re in the community to protect all of us and they shouldn’t be targeted.”
Menacing is a class-five felony in Colorado, with a presumptive punishment of one to three years in prison and a fine of $1,000 to $100,000 if convicted, Brown said. However, Brown also noted that courts have an impressive amount of flexibility in handing out punishments on a case like this, saying that punishments could be as lenient as probation, or as harsh as six total years in prison on consecutive sentences if convicted.
This was not the first time that Reed has found himself in legal trouble in Summit County, though past offenses seem relatively minor. In 2001, Reed was arrested on a misdemeanor harassment charge, and was sentenced to pay a fine. In 2013, Reed was arrested on a misdemeanor menacing charge, but the case was later dismissed in 2014, according to court documents.
Reed was released on a $5,000 cash bond on Oct. 26, and is expected to appear in Summit County Court on Oct. 31 for his appearance on bond.