A man who had been reported for asserting ownership of various homes on Garnet Avenue in Delta is now accused of assaulting two residents there, as well as causing injury to three of the peace officers who subsequently arrested him Saturday, dragging him out of the Gunnison River to do so.
Robert K. Brown, 34, is accused of second-degree attempted murder; aggravated robbery; second-degree assault; first-degree burglary and reckless endangerment. He is also accused of theft as a petty offense for reportedly taking one of two men’s cell phones after allegedly attacking them the morning of Sept. 7.
As well, Brown is accused of of three counts of second-degree assault on a peace officer; resisting arrest; obstructing a peace officer; reckless endangerment and fourth-degree arson in a second case arising from his alleged struggle with Delta Police Department officers and Delta County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
Formal charges are pending in both matters.
According to arrest affidavits, two men who lived on Garnet Avenue sustained cuts from a sharpened metal rod. One of them was injured severely. Both men tried to defend themselves — one with a flower pot and the other, with a wooden bat.
The two men initially noticed a man, allegedly Brown, outside of their home at about 3:30 a.m. Sept. 7 and at first, were fairly unconcerned because their belongings were secured. Brown had reportedly come by before, claiming to own that home and others in the area, which sparked prior police calls.
At about 4 a.m., Brown allegedly tried to get into the home. As the men struggled to hold him back, Brown allegedly began striking one of them with what at first was believed to be a metal pipe, but was actually “a large knife,” Detective Clint Swope wrote.
The man who was reportedly being stabbed seized a clay flowerpot and bashed it against Brown, but this “did not faze” Brown, Officer Nick Buffington’s separate affidavit says.
The second man used a wooden bat in an attempt to drive Brown away; again, he was unfazed, the affidavit says. Brown then allegedly turned the weapon on the second man, whose wrist and hand were cut.
This man ran to a neighbor, who called 911.
Officers responding to the home found the first man covered in blood, with cuts to his head; these had to be stapled closed, according to court documents. Police also recovered a “large, sharpened metal rod” with blood on it.
The men identified Brown as the suspect; he was known to police because of alleged drug use and was also known to carry knives, Swope wrote.
Brown allegedly made off with a cell phone, which authorities subsequently pinged to the intersection of North Palmer Street and Confluence Drive.
Buffington, informed of a community event at Confluence Lake, went there to establish a police presence, because Brown was known to frequent the area. The officer began walking the trail that led to the bridge that spans the Gunnison River on U.S. 50, with DCSO K-9 Sgt. Keith Sanders joining him.
At 7:20 a.m., Buffington walked under the bridge and smelled something burning; he then saw Brown “peeking” out of the area nearby, the affidavit says.
He asked Brown to come speak to him and Brown began approaching. Because of the steep bank, with sharp rocks, the officers began walking toward an open space, where it would be safer to talk.
But Brown reportedly ducked back into a small space beneath the bridge, so Buffington repeated his instructions and Brown started coming down toward Sanders.
He declared “I didn’t do anything” and began running, Buffington alleged in the affidavit. As the officers pursued, Brown allegedly turned and ran at Sanders in an aggressive manner, and the sergeant pushed him, causing him to fall into the river.
Sanders kept hold of Brown’s backpack, but Brown slipped out of it and kept running along, in the water.
Sanders was in the river, apparently injured and had a hard time moving, Buffington wrote. Sanders reportedly sprained his ankle and could be off work for weeks as a result.
Deputy Kenneth Taylor tasered Brown and Officer Garrett Henderson took hold of the suspect, “who was still in the river and actively resisting arrest,” the affidavit alleges.
Buffington used a wrist lock on Brown to gain compliance, but Brown kept resisting, causing the officer to fall into the river several times and injure his knee, the affidavit also states.
Brown allegedly bit Henderson’s thumb.
Both Buffington and Henderson lost their body cameras in the river during the struggle and their tasers were waterlogged.
Brown is accused of assaulting the three officers. The arson allegation arises from the fire officers found when they spotted him. Because it could have spread, damaged the bridge and put motorists at risk, and because it could have spread to a nearby RV park, he is also accused of reckless endangerment.
Brown had been set for advisement Monday morning. A new court date and bond amount were not immediately available.
Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.