Russell Ehrlich, 39, was wanted on felony charges when he eluded Longmont officers; he was taken into custody after a two-and-a-half hour standoff with SWAT.
Last Thursday (March 23) morning at about 11 a.m., Longmont City Police officers attempted to serve felony warrants to Russell Ehrlich at his residence in the 1200 block of Hover Street. Unable to get a response at the residence, the officers left. Within a few minutes the officers witnessed
Ehrlich leaving the area in a truck and pursued the vehicle trying to get it to stop. Around 11:40 a.m., sheriff's deputies learned that officers were pursuing a vehicle that was failing to yield and that they were entering Hygiene, just west of Longmont.
Longmont officers continued to pursue Ehrlich westbound on Hygiene Road. Ehrlich's speed remained close to the speed limit throughout the pursuit. Sheriff's deputies were able to get in front of the pursuit and deploy tire deflation devices just east of North Foothills Highway (Highway 36) on Hygiene Road. Ehrlich's vehicle, a gray Ford F-150, struck the devices, which ultimately deflated both of his driver's side tires. The subject eventually stopped on North Foothills Highway, just north of Twilight, at approximately 11:50 a.m.
During the course of the pursuit, Ehrlich stated he was armed with a handgun, and later posted similar statements on social media. Ehrlich refused commands to exit the vehicle and sheriff's deputies and Longmont officers began negotiating with him for his surrender. Officers and deputies learned that Ehrlich had made a number of suicidal statements, including that if the police came any closer, “this won't end well.” After unsuccessfully negotiating with him, SWAT was called for assistance.
Crisis negotiators from the Longmont Police Department SWAT Team and the Sheriff's Office's SWAT Team attempted to negotiate with Ehrlich over the next two-and-a-half hours by cell phone. When it became clear that crisis negotiations were unlikely to resolve the barricade situation, plans were formulated to remove Ehrlich from the vehicle as safely as possible. As part of those plans, a second bearcat armored rescue vehicle was requested from the Larimer County Sheriff's Office's to join the Boulder County armored rescue vehicle that was already at the scene, as an additional safety precaution.
At 2:20 p.m., crisis negotiations ended unsuccessfully. As a result, two armored rescue vehicles moved in and pinned Ehrlich's truck in position so that it was unable to move or change position, even with two deflated tires. Ehrlich continued to refuse to exit the vehicle, so a SWAT member deployed OC gas to the interior of the vehicle, which caused Ehrlich to exit from the driver's side. Ehrlich refused to show his hands, and believing he may be armed, the handgun he previously purported having, several less-lethal impact rounds were fired at him. Ehrlich retreated back into the cab of the truck at which point a sheriff's canine, K9 King, was deployed to remove Ehrlich from within. Ehrlich fought with K9 King, but the diversion allowed SWAT tactical operators to move up to the truck, safely remove Ehrlich from the passenger side of the truck, and place him into custody.
Ehrlich suffered minor injuries during the altercation, which predominately consisted of dog bites to his upper arms. Ehrlich was placed into the custody of the Longmont Police Department on a variety of charges, and was transported by ambulance to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries. After searching the truck, deputies were unable to locate a handgun that Ehrlich purported to be armed with.
During the barricade situation, North Foothills Highway was shut down to traffic for the safety of the public, the law enforcement officers, and Ehrlich. Traffic along Rte. 36 between Lyons and Boulder was re-opened at 3 p.m.