Thursday
December 8, 2016

A Reminder of Dangers in Foreclosure Evictions

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A Reminder of Dangers in Foreclosure Evictions

A sheriff deputy was killed and two other deputies were wounded Wednesday in Bailey, Colo., when a man opened fire on police after they tried to serve him a foreclose eviction notice. The gunman was also later killed in the shootout that started around 9:30 a.m. in the typically quiet, mountain community of Friendship Ranch subdivision.

Read more: 'Remarkable Improvement' in Foreclosures

Police were trying to evict Martin Wirth, 58, who used to identify himself as an Occupy Denver activist. Wirth had defaulted on his property in 2013. He had been fighting against his foreclosure ever since.

On heightened alert for the eviction, the sheriff’s office brought out eight members to the three-acre property on Wednesday to evict Wirth.

"Wirth came out on his deck paused and then went back inside," the sheriff's office said in a statement. "Officers quickly followed Wirth inside the residence. As they entered Wirth fired upon them. Officers returned fire." Wirth was armed with a rifle.

Cpl. Nate Carrigan, a 13-year veteran to the Park County Sheriff’s Office, died Wednesday from his wounds during the shootout. One other deputy remained in critical condition at the hospital on Thursday, while a third deputy was treated and released.

In 2014, the Colorado Foreclosure Resistance Coalition had posted a notice that Wirth was facing eviction and urged people to go to his home to support him.

"We are now calling for a non-violent eviction resistance at Martin's," said a statement on the group's website. "(Wirth) has been an invaluable part of Occupy Denver from the very early days, he has sheltered people on several occasions as well as hosting the Occupy retreat. His property is an amazing mountain escape with lots of room for tents and camping."

Occupy Denver had later revoked its support of Wirth. In a Facebook post, the activist group said that it “cannot in good conscience as an organization support the tactics he is proposing.”

Source: “Park County Sheriff’s Deputy Killed, Two Others Wounded in Shootout,” The Denver Post (Feb. 24, 2016)