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Man fires gun, sets house on fire after code enforcers attempt to cut his overgrown lawn

It was a series of events that no one could have predicted. Law enforcement authorities visited the man shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday to serve a warrant and conduct lawn maintenance due to high grass and weeds. The visit quickly escalated when the resident began firing a gun from inside their home.

The situation, which resulted in one death and a house fire, didn’t end until several hours later. Officials reported that around 10:21 a.m., the man from Texas began firing at code department officials and police.

“They immediately backed off. They got all of the staff that was working on the house to safety and a SWAT call was initiated for a barricaded subject,” Police Chief Joseph Chacon said.

A SWAT crew, mental health officers, and crisis negotiator responded within 20 minutes.

Despite utilizing multiple de-escalation techniques, the resident refused to leave his home. SWAT spent “several hours” trying to make contact, but were unsuccessful until shortly before 3:30 p.m. when officers went to the back of the home where the resident began shooting again.

Officers were able to gain access to the home with a robot.

A fire had been started, and officers tried to get the man to leave, but he stayed in the home for another 20 minutes.

The resident finally emerged from their garage “weapons in hand,” and he was shot by a SWAT officer.

He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

When a lawn is overgrown code inspectors work with the property owner. Residents receive a Notice of Violation notifying them what needs to be fixed and then they are given an allotted time to fix it.

Overgrown grass is expected to be taken care of within a week. If the violation is not taken care of then enforcement is the final step. The man had four previous notices from code enforcement, all for lawn care, but he was never flagged as a a threat. Officials visited his home twice in 2020 and three times in 2021.

As per department protocol, the officer who fired the fatal shot has been placed on administrative duty as criminal and administrative investigations are completed. The identity of the man who died has not been released.

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