BOULDER, Colorado — On Friday, multiple officers responded to the area of Murphy’s Bar & Grill (28th and Iris Avenue), in reference to a disturbance and an unknown male screaming for help. Upon arriving on scene, officers quickly learned that a suspect had barricaded himself in the laundry room of the upstairs apartment complex, which is on the second floor of the shopping center. The suspect, later identified as Ian Johnson, barricaded the door the laundry room and began destroying the interior.
While Johnson continued to damage property, he also ripped out a section of copper pipe and the second floor of the building began to flood and then run over into the first-floor businesses. Johnson, who appeared to be under the influence of drugs, attempted to use the copper pipe and valve as a weapon towards officers when they tried to force the door open.
As water continued to flood the area, multiple attempts were made to negotiate with Johnson and to shut off the water. Officers learned the only shut off valve was in the same room as Johnson and Johnson would not comply with verbal commands to exit the laundry room. Because of the concern for residents, Johnson and officers on scene, power to the building was cut off, to avoid Johnson inadvertently electrocuting himself or others.
In an effort to safely end the encounter with Johnson, officers utilized pepper-ball projectiles into the laundry room. The pepper-balls look similar to recreational paintballs but have a powder like substance in them, which would have a similar effect on an individual who would be pepper sprayed. These seemed to have no effect on Johnson who continued to yell at officers and violently hit and damage the interior of the laundry room.
Johnson was subsequently able to leave the laundry room by climbing into the ceiling and then through the attic, was able to run the length of the building. Johnson exited the attic through the ceiling and into a bedroom of one of the occupied apartments. Officers made entry into the apartment, escorted the resident out and then a second standoff ensued with Johnson, who was now barricaded in the restroom of the apartment.
Again, officers attempted to negotiate with Johnson, but Johnson refused to exit the apartment or comply with any verbal commands. After approximately two hours trying to negotiate with Johnson, officers forced entry into the bathroom in an attempt to arrest Johnson. Officers utilized a ballistic shield and other less-lethal weapons, such as tasers, while forcing entry into the bathroom. Once the first officer gained access into the bathroom, he noticed Johnson had armed himself with a kitchen knife.
Johnson then used the knife and made a cutting motion towards the officer. The officer utilized the shield to block the knife from cutting him and then push Johnson back into the bathtub where Johnson continued to hit at and fight officers. Johnson was eventually arrested and lodged at the Boulder County Jail. Johnson had minimal injuries, including some scrapes from climbing through the walls of the apartment complex and from fighting with officers.
Detectives interviewed Johnson after he was transported to the Boulder County Jail. Johnson advised that as soon as he got into the apartment, he went into the kitchen to find sharp knives. Johnson armed himself from with two large kitchen knives that he got from the dishwasher. Both knives were recovered on scene and are currently evidence in this case. Johnson remains at the Boulder County Jail, with the following charges:
Attempted First Degree Assault
The owner of the building estimated that Johnson caused approximately $20,000 worth of damage to the apartments and businesses.