Escalante college has been put on “lockout”
Law enforcement arrested a man on Tuesday suspected of having brandished a firearm when employees confronted him about a shoplifting at Home Depot, according to the Durango Police Department.
Matthew Kiesel, 30, was arrested approximately 45 minutes after the initial call.
“We have a long history with him,” said Cmdr. Ray Shupe, spokesperson for DPD.
Home Depot notified police at 10:13 a.m. that a man pulled out a sawed-off shotgun shortly after being confronted with a possible shoplifting in the store, Shupe said. The gun was later learned to be a sawed-off BB gun, he said.
After confronting Kiesel, employees apparently dragged him out of the store to the garden where he had hidden his bike and backpack, Shupe said. That’s where he would have pointed the gun, he said.
“So that’s what got us rolling on it,” Shupe said.
It doesn’t appear that Kiesel pointed his gun at anyone.
Based on initial reports, police described Kiesel as a “robbery suspect who is believed to be armed with a sawed-off shotgun,” according to the DPD’s Facebook post.
“He didn’t point it at anyone or threaten anyone,” deputy police chief Brice Current said after Kiesel’s arrest. “…We’re not going to take any chances, and we’ve treated this as a threat or a theft.”
Police searched the Home Depot area and established a perimeter around the store. Store employees described the suspect as a skinny man with short black hair, possibly in his early 20s, with a dirty red backpack and a black bicycle that seemed too small for him.
“They (employees) gave us a really good description of him and a direction of travel, but didn’t know exactly where he went, so we set up a perimeter and ended up getting him inside the perimeter,” Shupe said.
Officers located Kiesel near Ska Fabrication, just west of Home Depot and near Dallabetta Park. He was taken into custody without incident at 10:55 a.m.
“We actually caught him riding his bike. So he was trying to cycle out of the area when we contacted him,” Shupe said.
Escalante Middle School was placed on lockdown during the incident, meaning students were taken indoors and the school was closed to outside visitors. The lockout was lifted shortly after the arrest.
Police had yet to determine the charges they planned to hold Kiesel suspected of committing.
We may be looking at a threat,” Shupe said. “We just have to look at all the facts behind it all and how it happened and whether or not it’s going to fit into the law.”
Kiesel also had three active warrants, including for felony assault, police said.