The Armed Citizen® | Denver

posted on January 11, 2017

During the 1800s, prospectors flooded into the Mile High City in hopes of making their fortunes. Today, plenty in Denver are still looking to get rich quick—but some prefer to take their chances preying on others as opposed to putting in an honest day’s work. Unfortunately for them, a life of crime comes with some major occupational hazards, as the following 11 armed citizens handily proved. 

According to police, a 54-year-old burglar with a violent and lengthy criminal record dating back to 1969 decided to strike again. The man—whose rap sheet includes aggravated assault with a knife, aggravated robbery, felony menacing and drug charges—entered the home of a local schoolteacher by removing an air conditioning unit from a window. The homeowner shot the intruder in the chest with a 12-gauge shotgun, killing him. (Denver Post, Denver, Colo., 07/20/06) 

A woman shot and injured a gunman in her yard early one Sunday, cutting short his assault on her and her children. Jaquie Creazzo and her three daughters were forced to flee their home after smoke from a car fire billowed into the house. Once they were outside, Justin Michael Getz came screaming toward the wheelchair-bound woman and her family, firing two handguns at them. "He was loaded for bears," Creazzo said. Her daughters and two nearby firefighters ducked for cover from the erratic gunfire, but Creazzo drew her own gun and fired several shots, hitting her attacker in the leg. Getz was the ex-boyfriend of Creazzo's eldest child, and, according to Creazzo, had threatened to kill the family two days earlier when the girl refused to see him again. "I'm certain if I hadn't responded, none of us would be here today," Creazzo said of the incident. "He had made threats to kill each and every one of us." (Denver Post, Denver, Colo., 11/23/01) 

Two armed men entered a southwest Denver home one night and allegedly robbed the family residing there; a man, woman and their two sons. According to Denver Police Lt. Jon Priest, the men pointed their handguns at the father and demanded money. The nefarious duo then took property from the home and, as they were leaving, family members chased them out of the house. One of the victims grabbed a firearm and a gun battle ensued leaving one of the suspects wounded. (Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colo., 05/23/01) 

Barking dogs announced that a desperate murder suspect armed with a rifle and a pistol had wandered onto Jim Kremers' Cheyenne, Wyo., ranch one night. Kremers, who had been warned to be on the lookout for the fugitive, met the threat with the aid of his son who had a rifle of his own. The men eventually turned the tense standoff into a compassionate surrender, feeding the suspect hot dogs and beans and allowing him to call his parents. Meanwhile, the ranchers went back outside, secured the guns and summoned police to make the arrest. (Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colo., 02/17/00) 

When three would-be robbers entered a Commerce City, Colo., residence, one of them pulled a knife, according to officials. The two men and a woman apparently had planned to rob an acquaintance; but the homeowner resisted the threat, drawing his semi-automatic handgun and shooting the two men. After the three fled, they called for medical help from a cousin's house. The police followed shortly thereafter. "As soon as they get out of the hospital, we'll be there to meet and greet them," said Sgt. Craig Coleman of the Adams County Sheriff's Dept. (Denver Post, Denver, Colo., 02/21/00) 

The fifth time the same bandit robbed William Kuroki, manager of a Denver pharmacy, the gunman forced Kuroki, a clerk, and a customer into a stock room and started off with his bag of loot to add to the $3600 taken in the previous robberies. Then, after closing the stock room door, the bandit decided to take one last look at his victims. Kuroki had drawn a .38-cal. revolver from his back pocket and when the door opened, he killed the robber with 2 shots. (Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colo., 12/01/94) 

On his knees with a robber's gun at his head, Denver restaurant manager Bruce Cluster thought he was a dead man. But when the crazed, screaming thief set his gun down for a moment, Cluster saw his chance. He dove for his own .357 Mag. and fired until the advancing assailant fell dead. (Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colo., 07/01/86) 

Stepping outside his parents' Denver home, Dennis Trujillo spotted two armed men approaching. He ran back in to warn his family, went back outside and grabbed his pistol from his van, and returned to find his family held at gunpoint. The young man opened fire, killing one gunman and chasing off the other, who was later arrested. (Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colo., 04/08/86) 

Working in his Denver gun shop, David Jewell looked up to see an armed robber pointing a pistol at him. Jewell was struck by a bullet as he dove beneath his counter, but came up shooting with his own revolver. The wounded gunman fled the shop, was struck by a passing auto and was arrested soon after. (Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colo., 12/19/85) 

"When it's a choice of somebody trying to break into your house with you and your wife and your child there, there's no choice at all," Robert Calt said after he gunned down an intruder. The Denver real estate lawyer blasted the criminal with his 12-ga. shotgun after the housebreaker burst through the front door of the Calt home despite repeated warnings. "I'd do the same thing if it happened again," Calt said. "His rights don't involve going into my house and threatening my family." Calt's wife, who had hidden the couple's three-year-old daughter behind some curtains upstairs, vowed that she would learn to use a gun. "I've never felt so helpless in my life ... I never believed in guns before. I do now." (The Post, Denver, Colo., 10/22/84) 

Sherri Valdez was returning from work late at night when a man jumped her in front of her Denver home. The assailant started to drag her away, but she managed to sound her car's horn, alerting her husband. Frank Valdez saw the struggle, came running with a gun in hand and ordered the thug to release his wife. When the man refused, Valdez shot him in the leg. The hospitalized suspect was charged with kidnapping. (Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colo., 04/07/83)


Deputy Tyler Thoman
Deputy Tyler Thoman

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