Police stand down in Snowmass
Vail, CO Colorado
SNOWMASS VILLAGE ” Area police are standing down after a day of heightened security spurred by death threat against Latinos at the Base Village construction site in Snowmass Village.
A written threat suggested an attack could occur Friday, but the day passed without incident.
The threat was found on a Port-a-Potty door on Tuesday. Authorities did not reveal the exact nature of the message, or the time an attack was to occur, though a Snowmass Village official confirmed the attack was to take place Friday and two other sources said it was to occur between 2 and 2:30 p.m.
According to a construction worker at the site, the message said, “I’m going to kill any Mexican who gets in my way,” or words to that effect. The worker said there has been racial tension at the site.
Gary Meggison, project executive at the work site for general contractor Weitz Construction, agreed there has been tension.
“That’s kind of the nature of the beast,” he said, referring to the construction atmosphere in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Snowmass Village Police Sgt. Brian Olson, incident commander, said authorities took the threat seriously and set up an Incident Command Team as a precaution.
“I hope what we’re doing is overkill,” he said.
Officers from Snowmass Village, Aspen and Basalt were reportedly involved. Officers from Basalt were sent up with “tactical gear,” said a spokesman from that department.
The FBI was reportedly in Snowmass Village earlier in the week, conducting interviews, and authorities met with more than 30 Base Village supervisors, according to a press release issued by the town Friday morning.
Employees and subcontractors were given the option of revising their Friday work schedules, and several workers chose to stay home today, according to Kathleen Wanatowicz, town spokesperson.
Workers were told about the threat and encouraged to report suspicious activity; a hot line was set up for anonymous tips, according to the press release.
Construction of Base Village is a multiyear project that will involve 1 million square feet of residential and commercial space when it’s completed in 2011. A new, 26,000-square-foot children’s center is among the facilities to be finished by next winter.
The Aspen Skiing Co. is responsible for on-mountain improvements being built in conjunction with the new base area. The Skico and Intrawest sold the Base Village property to Related WestPac earlier this year.