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Arvada homeowner says SWAT team's search for wanted man left his home heavily damaged

Windows, doors, drywall & furniture affected
Posted: 9:04 PM, Aug 17, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-18 16:26:37Z
Arvada homeowner: Who pays for SWAT damage
Arvada homeowner: Who pays for SWAT damage

ARVADA, Colo. -- Thousands of bits of broken glass crunch underneath Mark Buss' feet as he walks into his kitchen through a shattered sliding glass door.

That sliding door and several windows were shattered when the Arvada Police Department's tactical squad fired gas canisters into the house earlier this week.

They were trying to flush out Michael Chapman, a man wanted by both Arvada PD, and by authorities in Georgia, for domestic violence.

But Chapman wasn't there.

Buss’ daughter, Heather, said Chapman had been in the house earlier in the evening, when police first showed up.

“He originally answered the door,” she said, “then they left. When they realized it was him, they came back. He answered the door again, then closed it, and took off out the back door.”

Heather admits she was involved in a relationship with Chapman at one point, but said he broke into her house that day and was holding her against her will.

She shared cell phone pictures of black and blue bruises on her face that she says Chapman inflicted.

Heather said she told police several times that Chapman had left, but officers weren't convinced.

They say they didn't know whether Chapman was still in the house, and whether he was armed or not.

A city spokeswoman told Denver7, “We can’t risk public safety by relying on the word of one witness, who may well have been under duress.”

She said that’s why the tactical unit was called in.

Wanted Daughter Safe

Buss said he purchased the house in Westminster’s Highland’s neighborhood, so his daughter and granddaughter would have a place to live and be safe.

He said he purchased new bedroom furniture about two years ago. Now, he'll have to replace some of it.

Buss said the tactical unit drove its equipment onto his front lawn, running over his underground sprinkler system.

"They broke the pipe," he said. "There was water shooting out everywhere."

Inside the house, there are holes in the drywall and partially collapsed bedroom furniture.

"You can see where the grenade hit the wall up there and exploded," he said. "It trashed the cabinet."

Outside, Buss uncovered leather living room furniture saturated with tear gas, or mace.

He said it will all have to be professionally cleaned, or discarded.

“I know (police) have a job to do,” he said, “but this is what I’m left with and I’m really angry about it.”

Suspect Apprehended

Police say Chapman was eventually spotted walking down the street, and that once he saw officers, he fled on foot.

"He broke into an elderly woman's home two blocks away," said Arvada Police Detective David Snelling.

"He was in the basement and was cornered by a dog," he said.

Chapman is facing charges of Domestic Violence for previous alleged incidents in Arvada, and for Terroristic Threats (related to domestic violence) in Georgia.

Who's Liable?

Buss said he wants to know if the city is liable for the damage caused to his property.

“Insurance won’t cover it,” he said. “Homeowner’s insurance will not cover police action.”

Maria Vanderkolk, Communications Manager for the City of Arvada, said residents who suffer property damage due to police activity can file a claim with the city’s Risk Management Division.

“Those applications are handled on a case by case basis,” she said, “generally the homeowner is responsible for repairs.”