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topspin
Jun 5th, 2004, 12:20 PM
http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/Central/06/05/bulldozer.rampage/index.html

Bulldozer rampage gunman dead

County official said he shot himself after ramming into town buildings

(CNN) -- A gunman who went on a rampage with a homemade armored bulldozer, demolishing buildings in the small town of Granby, Colorado, has died, apparently after shooting himself, according to a local county official.

Duane Dailey, chairman of the Grand County commissioners, said the coroner's report has not been issued to confirm the cause of death.
No one was killed after the man exchanged gunfire and drove the massive vehicle into town buildings Friday, believed to be intentionally targeted as a result of a zoning dispute that affected his business.

Granby is about 70 miles northwest of Denver, near Rocky Mountain National Park.

The assault ended after an hour and a half when the vehicle became stuck in one of the buildings that it plowed through.

Fearing the bulldozer was booby-trapped with explosives, local officials called in bomb squads and SWAT teams to penetrate the vehicle and detain or recover the driver. They had no contact with him.

SWAT teams were able to recover the body early Saturday after using an explosive to blow off the hinge of a door into the fortified bulldozer's cab around 2 a.m., Dailey said.

The first two explosive devices were "completely ineffective" at penetrating the armored bulldozer, Dailey said.

"The machine had a half-inch steel plate with a layer of concrete, and another steel plate," he said. "On the front of the machine, there were two rifles mounted where he could shoot straight ahead."

At the height of the rampage, the bulldozer demolished or heavily damaged a concrete batch plant, the town hall, a bank, a library and the local newspaper offices. The property of the former mayor, who held office at the time of the zoning dispute, was also damaged.

"Every indication is that these were all targeted hits," said Granby Town Manager Tom Hale. "They were all properties that people who worked there were involved in the zoning decision."

Colorado Gov. Bill Owens went to Granby and saw some of the damage from the air.

"It looked as if a tornado touched down and hopscotched across Granby," he told reporters.

Grand County Manager Lurline Curran said authorities believe they know the identity of the man carrying out the attack and that it stems from a zoning dispute dating back over a year ago.

Neil Dewet, manager of the Silver Spur Saloon and Steakhouse about a half block from town hall, said the man owned the bulldozer, and had modified it inside a building he owned near the concrete batch plant.

The man, who Dewet said was in his 50s, was angry at a zoning decision that allowed the concrete plant to expand around his building instead of buying his land.

Tim Neal, another Granby resident, told CNN he watched the bulldozer target specific buildings and homes -- homes of town board members who were involved in the zoning decision.

"Everybody knew he would go after everybody on the town board," Neal said in a phone interview.

Damage to town hall and the concrete batch plant broke gas lines to those buildings.

Police and other law enforcement officers evacuated many residents and shut down roads in the town of about 1,500 residents, Curran said.

Authorities used a reverse 911 system to warn residents in the bulldozer's path to get out, Grand County Commissioner Dwayne Dailey told reporters.