Jan 2, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Suspect arrested after firing shots inside Colorado Supreme Court

Colorado State Patrol officers outside the  Colorado Judicial Center in Denver on Jan. 2.

Colorado State Patrol officers outside the Colorado Judicial Center in Denver on Jan. 2. Photo: Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post

A suspect was arrested after allegedly breaking into the Denver building that houses the Colorado Supreme Court early Tuesday, holding a security guard at gunpoint and firing multiple shots inside the facility, according to law enforcement.

Why it matters: Authorities said a preliminary investigation confirmed with "high probability" that the incident was likely unrelated to the increased threats faced by Colorado Supreme Court justices after the court ruled 4-3 to remove former President Trump from the state's 2024 ballot.

Details: The Denver Police Department have identified the suspect as Brandon Olsen, 44.

  • Olsen is currently "being held for investigation of Robbery, Burglary and Arson," but the final determination on charges will be made by the the Denver District Attorney's Office, the department said in a press release.
  • State Police said the break-in occurred after a two-vehicle crash occurred around 1 am local time outside the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center in downtown Denver.
  • One of the drivers involved in the crash reportedly aimed a handgun at the other driver before shooting out one of the Judicial Center's windows and entering the building.
  • The suspect then allegedly held an unarmed security guard at gunpoint, demanding keys to access other parts of the building, police said.

After receiving the keys, the suspect allegedly accessed an unknown number of floors in the building before reaching the seventh floor and firing shots inside the building.

  • At one point Olsen allegedly started a fire in a stairwell, which was later extinguished by Denver Fire.
  • At around 3am local time, the suspect called 911 and voluntarily surrendered to Denver Police Department officers and Colorado State Patrol Troopers who had previously responded to the scene and set up a perimeter around the building.

What they're saying: Police said there were no injures to building occupants, the suspect or police personnel and that the suspect was taken to a local hospital to be cleared by medical personnel.

  • "There is significant and extensive damage to the building and the investigation is ongoing," state police said, adding that Denver law enforcement would take over the investigation.
  • "The [Colorado State Police] and [Denver Police Department] are treating this incident seriously, but at this time, it is believed that this is not associated with previous threats to the Colorado Supreme Court Justices," it continued.

The big picture: The FBI and Denver police have been investigating the elevated threats to Colorado's top justices following their ruling on Trump's eligibility on the state's ballot.

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Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional information throughout.

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