DENVER - Weeks before a parolee held a boy hostage for 18 hours, relatives began warning parole officers and other law enforcement officials that he was no longer living at his approved residence and had access to weapons.
Don Pooley, 34, was declared an absconder on Jan. 10, but records obtained by CALL7 Investigator Theresa Marchetta, and corroborated by family members, show they began to report their concerns four days earlier.
On Jan. 6, documents show, Pooley's relative called parole to warn he is getting money from his grandfather, selling drugs and driving without a license. The parole officer was informed Pooley was no longer living at his "approved" residence and was instead spending time at the grandfather's home, where he had access to weapons.
Parole officers were also informed Pooley led officers on a high-speed chase in Federal Heights. The documents show a parole officer was able to confirm the chase did occur.
The next day, Pooley missed his fifth treatment class.
A different family member called parole on Jan. 8 and stated concern Pooley was "causing harm to his grandfather" and that he is "up to no good."
In a conversation with Marchetta the relative said, “I talked to (the parole officer) at the parole office and I expressed my concern from the first day that I talked to her. She just kept telling me there wasn’t anything she could do.”
On Jan. 9, Pooley failed to report for a scheduled office visit.
It was not until Jan. 10, however, that a parole officer met with Pooley's mother. At that time he was declared an absconder and a warrant was approved for his arrest.
Between the issuance of that warrant and the hostage situation on Feb. 3, Pooley missed additional treatment classes and appointments. The Fugitive Apprehension Unit, a unit newly created in the wake of the Evan Ebel debacle in 2013, was assigned to look for Pooley on Jan. 13, but there is no record anyone ever did.
"I had a real fear he would hurt somebody," one relative told Marchetta. After failing to get a response from parole in the days leading up to the hostage situation, family members said they even reached out to Crime Stoppers and Arvada police.
Hours before the boy was taken hostage at gunpoint, records show that a relative called for a final time giving two locations where they could likely find Pooley. They let officers know that Pooley had a gun and he told family members he would not be going back to prison.
Arvada Police Chief Don Wick explained that police were initially called to the neighborhood near 62nd Avenue and Gray Street, by Homestead Park, on a domestic disturbance call, involving a gun. Pooley ran as police were arriving, entered a home and took a 13-year-old hostage.
Police said the victim, identified by officers as Connor, was in his home near 62nd Avenue and Gray Street when Pooley burst in and took him hostage.
On a dramatic recording of the first 911 call from the suspect, a man can be heard saying, "I have a hostage and if you don't tell your people to get the (expletive) away from around here, he's gonna die."
A few seconds later, a child can be heard on the phone crying and pleading, "Help me! Please!"
The male voice then says, "If I see any more (cops) around here, your hostage is through."
The 18-hour hostage situation, which began around 5:30 p.m. Monday, ended just after 11 a.m. Tuesday when a police SWAT team entered the home and fatally shot Pooley.
Connor was unharmed in the incident. His family released a statement Wednesday saying he is in good spirits and very happy to be back with his family.
The family members that survive Pooley are upset their warnings were given in vain. They say, "it should have got stopped before it ever got started. My feeling is it should have been stopped sooner." "The system failed. As far as I'm concerned, the parole office is the first one that failed. They didn’t do their job."