Man breaks into Colorado Supreme Court overnight and opens fire, police say

Jan 2, 2024, 1:01 PM

The Colorado Supreme Court building in Denver. (Kevin Mohatt, Reuters)...

The Colorado Supreme Court building in Denver. (Kevin Mohatt, Reuters)

(Kevin Mohatt, Reuters)

(CNN) — A man was arrested early Tuesday after he broke into the Colorado Supreme Court overnight and opened fire inside the building, state police said in a news release.

The preliminary investigation “confirmed a high probability” that the incident is not connected to “recent threats against the Colorado Supreme Court Justices,” the Colorado State Patrol said.

The break-in comes two weeks after the court ruled 4-3 to remove former President Donald Trump from the state’s 2024 ballot, finding he was ineligible to hold office under the 14th Amendment’s “insurrectionist ban.”

The FBI previously said it was working with Colorado law enforcement to investigate reports of violent threats against the Colorado Supreme Court justices following their ruling to remove Trump from the presidential ballot.

Tuesday’s incident began unfolding around 1:15 a.m. and ended nearly two hours later, when the intruder surrendered to police, according to the news release.

“There are no injuries to building occupants, the suspect, or police personnel,” the release said, adding there was “significant and extensive damage to the building.”

Events leading up to break-in of Colorado Supreme Court

The break-in was preceded by a two-vehicle crash at 13th Avenue and Lincoln Street in Denver, near the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center, which houses the state supreme court.

A person involved in that crash “reportedly pointed a handgun at the other driver,” the release said. That individual then shot out a window on the east side of the judicial center and entered the building.

The individual encountered an unarmed security guard, held the guard at gunpoint and took the guard’s keys before going to other parts of the building, including the seventh floor, where he fired more shots, the release said.

The suspect called 911 at 3 a.m. and surrendered to police, the release said. The release did not specify the nature of the charges on which the suspect is being held.

While authorities don’t believe the incident was related to previous threats, the names of the four state justices who ruled to disqualify Trump from the 2024 ballot have appeared in “incendiary” posts on extremist online forums, according to an analysis of the online chatter prepared by one non-partisan research organization for US law enforcement agencies.

The analysis obtained by CNN found no specific threats to the judges. But it warned that “there remains a risk of lone actor or small group violence or other illegal activities in response to the ruling.”

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Man breaks into Colorado Supreme Court overnight and opens fire, police say