Early the morning of Sept. 7, Delta Police Department (DPD) officers were called to the 100 block of Garnet Avenue on reports of a stabbing in a home. A few hours later, DPD officers, with assistance from the Delta County Sheriff's Office (DCSO) and the Colorado State Patrol (CSP), located suspect Robert Kyle Brown, 34, under the Gunnison River bridge over U.S. 50.
During the struggle for arrest three peace officers were injured — DCSO K-9 Sgt. Keith Sanders rolled his ankle, Brown allegedly bit DPD Officer Garrett Henderson’s thumb and DPD Officer Nick Buffington fell into the river several times and injured his knee during Brown’s resistance, according to arrest affidavits.
Both Buffington and Henderson lost their body cameras in the river during the struggle and their tasers were waterlogged. Sheriff Mark Taylor reported that Sanders is in a walking cast and will be out for several weeks.
Taylor said the incident showed good teamwork of the deputies on duty that day, referring to how the DCSO helped apprehend Brown before he could harm anyone else.
“Unfortunately Sanders was injured in the process but we hope and pray for a speedy recovery,” he said.
Brown, reported as homeless, is accused of second-degree attempted murder; aggravated robbery; second-degree assault; first-degree burglary; and reckless endangerment. He is also accused of theft as a petty offense for reportedly taking one of two men’s cell phones after allegedly attacking them Sept. 7.
As well, Brown is accused of three counts of second-degree assault on a peace officer; resisting arrest; obstructing a peace officer; reckless endangerment; and fourth-degree arson in a second case arising from his alleged struggle with DPD officers and DCSO deputies.
Formal charges are pending in both matters.
According to affidavits, two men who lived on Garnet Avenue noticed a man, allegedly Brown, outside of their home at about 3:30 a.m. Sept. 7 and at first, were fairly unconcerned because their belongings were secured. Brown had reportedly come by before, claiming to own that home and others in the area, which sparked prior police calls over the last several weeks.
At about 4 a.m., Brown allegedly tried to get into the home. As the men struggled to hold him back, Brown allegedly began striking one of them with what at first was believed to be a metal pipe, but was actually “a large knife,” Detective Clint Swope wrote in the affidavit.
The man who was reportedly being stabbed seized a clay flowerpot and bashed it against Brown, but this “did not faze” Brown, Buffington’s separate affidavit says.
The second man used a wooden bat in an attempt to drive Brown away; again, he was unfazed. Brown then allegedly turned the weapon on the second man, whose wrist and hand were cut.
This man ran to a neighbor, who called 911.
Officers responding to the home found the first man covered in blood, with cuts to his head; these had to be stapled closed, according to court documents. Police also recovered a “large, sharpened metal rod” with blood on it.
The men identified Brown as the suspect; he was known to police because of alleged drug use and was also known to carry knives, Swope wrote.
Brown allegedly made off with a cell phone, which authorities subsequently pinged to the intersection of North Palmer Street and Confluence Drive.
Buffington, informed of a community event at Confluence Lake, went there to establish a police presence, because Brown was known to frequent the area. The officer began walking the trail that led to the bridge that spans the Gunnison River on U.S. 50, with Sanders joining him.
At 7:20 a.m., Buffington walked under the bridge and smelled something burning; he then saw Brown “peeking” out of the area nearby, the affidavit states.
He asked Brown to come speak to him and Brown began approaching. Because of the steep bank, with sharp rocks, the officers began walking toward an open space, where it would be safer to talk.
But Brown reportedly ducked back into a small space beneath the bridge, so Buffington repeated his instructions and Brown started coming down toward Sanders.
He declared “I didn’t do anything” and began running, Buffington alleged in the affidavit. As the officers pursued, Brown allegedly turned and ran at Sanders in an aggressive manner, and the sergeant pushed him, causing him to fall into the river.
Sanders kept hold of Brown’s backpack, but Brown slipped out of it and kept running in the water.Sanders was in the river, apparently injured and had a hard time moving, Buffington wrote.
Deputy Kenneth Taylor tasered Brown and Henderson took hold of the suspect, “who was still in the river and actively resisting arrest,” the affidavit alleges. Buffington used a wrist lock on Brown to gain compliance, but Brown kept resisting, causing the officer to fall into the river several times and injure his knee, the affidavit also states.
Brown is accused of assaulting the three officers. The arson allegation arises from the fire officers found when they spotted him. Because it could have spread, damaged the bridge and put motorists at risk, and because it could have spread to a nearby RV park, he is also accused of reckless endangerment.
Brown is being held in the Delta County Jail on a $60,000 bond and a $25,000 bond.
DPD Chief Luke Fedler was unavailable for comments as of Tuesday at press time.
Just before 6 a.m. on Sept. 7, during the incident, a CODE RED Emergency Notification was sent out alerting, according to the text version, “DPD ALERT SHELTER IN PLACE DO NOT ANSWER DOORS ROBERT KYLE BROWN ARMED & DANGEROUS 34 YO MALE 6'01" 218 BROWN HAIR BROWN EYES BLACK JACKET BLUE JEANS BACKPACK.” According to several comments on a thread created on the Delta, Colorado Message Board on Facebook, Brown reportedly had been stalking other citizen’s homes.
“Three visits, he thinks he owns it,” wrote one comment. Another comment claimed Brown “tends to yell and wave his arms around while walking.”
CODE RED is a system that allows Delta County to immediately notify citizens within a designated area of a current or potentially life threatening information via their landline telephones or cellular telephones. According to information on the Delta County website, “Should the ENS be activated, a recorded voice message will be ‘launched’ by the [DCSO] or the Delta County Office of Emergency Management. This message will deliver precise information to the homes and businesses within the designated or threatened area.”
The system can also deliver messages via text.
To receive alerts a number must be registered. Those interested can sign up on deltacounty.com and click the “CodeRED Sign Up” on the bottom right of the page.
“We encourage people to go on and get registered,” said Taylor.
The incident is the latest in a spate of recent violent attacks in the Delta area. On Sept. 2, a Cedaredge man was jailed on suspicion of stabbing another man there Aug. 25. On Sept. 3, an Eckert man was shot and critically wounded in a home on Oak Creek Road; the suspect was apprehended later in Nevada.