Man in armored bulldozer razes town

A man who was angry at city officials plowed an armor-plated bulldozer into a town hall and at least five other buildings in Granby, Colo., on June 4. According to authorities, Marvin Heemeyer was angry over a zoning dispute and fines resulting from city code violations at his business.

Heemeyer, who owned the local muffler shop, had welded two half-inch steel plates, with a layer of concrete in between, onto the dozer’s cab, transforming the machine into a homemade tank. He then proceeded to plow into a former mayor’s home and several other buildings in the tourist town of 1,500 with the help of navigational cameras secured to the dozer’s roof.

In an effort to stop the armored machine, police detonated three explosions and fired at least 200 rounds against the heavy steel plates. The first and second explosions had no affect, and the third was a flash-bang explosive that was thrown down the exhaust pipe. Still, the dozer kept going for two hours, damaging a cement plant, a utility company, a bank, a newspaper office, a hardware store and warehouse, the home of the former mayor and the municipal building. Patrol cars and service trucks also were crushed in the dozer’s path. One truck was folded in half and pushed through the wall of a building, according to the Associated Press.

Heemeyer was armed with a .50-caliber weapon, but according to Grand County Emergency Management Director Jim Holahan, it looked like he was deliberately trying not to hurt anyone. No one was run over or injured during the incident.

Granby town manager Tom Hale told AP Heemeyer was angry after losing a zoning dispute that allowed a cement plant to be built near his muffler shop. Heemeyer was also fined $2,500 in a separate case for violating city codes. All the buildings damaged during his rampage were involved in his city dispute.

The machine finally came to a halt when it got stuck in the wreckage of a warehouse around 4:25 p.m. Police officials were still unable to coax Heemeyer out of the dozer’s cab. During the early morning of June 5, officials used torches to open the sealed cab, which contained Heemeyer’s lifeless body. The cause of death has not been announced.