Owner of house blown apart by SWAT says: 'This is an abomination. This is an atrocity'

SWAT was trying to flush out shoplifting suspect

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. - "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 is more than a little upset, and he is not afraid to express it with colorful language.

After all, the house he purchased for his son now has gaping holes where it once had walls and windows. Past the exposed studs and insulation of the condemned structure, you can see artwork on the wall of a 9-year-old boy's bedroom.

"In any civilized nation ... this is the act of paramilitary thugs," he says he told the chief of the Greenwood Village Police Department.

The chief, Lech said, brushed it off.

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The damage was inflicted by police and SWAT officers who were working to capture Robert Jonathan Seacat, a suspected 33-year-old shoplifter who allegedly barged into a random home Wednesday afternoon, and opened fire on police when they tried to arrest him a short time later.

The incident began Wednesday afternoon, when he was allegedly spotted shoplifting in Aurora. Seacat then drove to a nearby light rail station, where he ditched his car and ran.

Eventually, he ran into Lech's house on South Alton Street in Greenwood Village, where the 9-year-old boy was inside. Police dispatchers and the child's mother, who is engaged to Lech's son, talked the child out of the house.

The boy was unhurt, but the standoff was just beginning.

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Seacat wasn't taken into custody until Thursday morning. The SWAT team said it used chemical agents, flash-bang grenades and a "breaching ram" to end the nearly 20-hour standoff.

"There was obviously some kind of explosive that was fired into here," Lech said, showing 7NEWS anchor Anne Trujillo the cavernous hole in the wall that used to protect the boy's bedroom.

Those holes are visible in nearly every room on the second floor.

A neighbor, who says the SWAT team used his home as a base of operations, points out that whatever the police used to blast the holes sent debris flying.

"When they used the explosives to blow apart the side of this house here, they broke our windshield," the neighbor said.

"There are holes just like this one all through the back of the house too," Lech said. "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 estimated roughly that his plan would have caused $10,000 in damage, as opposed to the $250,000 in damage he believes he is facing.

"This is an abomination," he said. "This is an atrocity. To use this kind of force against one gunman."

Lech explains that he had owned the home for two years and rented it to his son. It is now uninhabitable and may need to be completely leveled.

His insurance will pay for the structure, but Lech's son did not have rental insurance and the possessions inside are therefore not being covered.

"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."

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