Grand Junction woman left picking up the pieces after her home was damaged by SWAT standoff
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - A Grand Junction woman is sharing her story after her home is severely damaged during a SWAT standoff.
On May 5, 2022 the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office was called to a home on the 2900 block of Dawn Drive, after receiving a call about a domestic violence situation. Kristina Del Real rents the home and lives there with her children. Deputies said her now 35-year-old husband Michael Montes barricaded himself inside the home refusing to come out.
According to the sheriff’s office Montes is a habitual domestic violence offender, already convicted three times. The sheriff’s office said Montes had been allowed to leave the jail as part of the community corrections program. Community corrections allows inmates to leave jail each day to go to their employment but come back to jail when their workday is done. According to the sheriff’s office, Montes never came back to the jail and instead went to his estranged wife’s home.
According to the police affidavit, someone from inside the home made a 911 call saying Montes was once again being violent in the home. The affidavit said Del Real had visible wounds on her but denied being harmed by Montes and denied that Montes was inside the home.
Deputies said they tried to get Montes to come out but refused multiple times. Eventually SWAT was called in to get Montes out. Eventually, SWAT used tear gas and explosives to gain entry to the home and arrested Montes.
Nearly two months later, Montes is in the Mesa County Detention Facility and Del Real is back inside the home. The home itself needs repair. Some windows have already been replaced, but others are still boarded up with particle board. Del Real herself believes what SWAT did was overkill.
“He wouldn’t to come out of the house,” said Del Real. “So, they did whatever they had to do to just get him apprehend him or whatever. But it was more of excessive force honestly for what had happened.”
Del Real said the floorboards in the home had permanent tear gas stains as did the carpets. She’s since ripped them out and is working on getting them replaced.
“Everything in my house had to be cleaned,” said Del Real. “Everything that was washable, had to be washed. Everything that wasn’t, we had to be thrown away.”
Due to the state of her home she herself has been living inside the home’s garage. Her children she said are living with family in Utah while she works to get the home repaired.
According to Del Real, SWAT cut through her chain link fence instead of using the gate. She said her car was also damaged. All of which she claims could have been avoided.”
“I didn’t know that the police were going to come in and destroy my home, or I wouldn’t have given permission for them to go in,” said Del Real. But I just found it was unnecessary. It was unnecessary force. My husband wasn’t armed. He’s not a danger to anybody else but me. I don’t know why they did what they did.”
However, the sheriff’s office believes they did what they had to do and given Montes’ violent history, calling in SWAT was appropriate.
“You don’t know once that door opens what is going to be the appropriate response,” said Lt. Henry Stoffler. “We’re hoping it’s going to be something non-violent and compliant. But we want to be prepared for every circumstance, and that we have every tool there. So, on the outside, it appears that they are overly armed, when really all it is, is multiple different tools, depending on what is going to happen once that door opens.”
Since Montes was arrested Del Real said it’s fallen on her to repair her home. She’s renting the home and claims her landlord won’t do anything to help her out and she’s expected to foot the bill for the repairs.
“They just boarded up my house and told me to have a good day after they destroyed every window in my house and blew off my front door,” said Del Real. I don’t believe that’s fair. I think things should have been done differently, a lot different.”
In situations such as these when the home is destroyed, Stoffler said there are programs in place that can help get victims, such as Del Real back on their feet when their homes are destroyed.
“Initially, we put them in contact with the courts,” said Stoffler. “Once the case is charged through the district attorney’s office, they have a very robust Victims Assistance Program. We have a Victims Assistance Program here at the sheriff’s office, that we will work with her to either get her some housing, or someplace safe to stay and make arrangements to help get those items that may be damaged, repaired.”
According to Del Real, her application was denied by the district attorney’s office on the grounds she was uncooperative with police during the response to her home. Del Real said she was in total cooperation with the deputies on scene. However, according to the police affidavit Del Real was not cooperative. The affidavit said she denied Montes was in the home all together. It also said she wouldn’t allow the sheriff deputies to enter the home at first, but eventually gave them permission before revoking permission. However, SWAT did obtain a search warrant, granting them permission to enter the home and bring out Montes.
“Ideally, in a perfect world, the person would surrender, and it would go very peacefully, and nothing would happen to any residents,” said Stoffler. “Unfortunately, we have situations where they do have to do a dynamic type of entry and take that person into custody.”
Now, Del Real said she’s looking at thousands of dollars out of her own pocket to try to get her home repaired.
“They did a lot of damage to my home, which is the main concern,” said Del Real. “I have to replace all of it. There’s no insurance covering.”
Montes is facing multiple charges:
Violation of a protection order.
- Assault in the third degree.
- False imprisonment.
- Resisting arrest.
- Failure or refusal to leave premises or prop upon request of a peace officer.
- Habitual domestic violence offender after three previous convictions.
- Domestic violence.
- Obstructing a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical personnel.
- Unauthorized absence, AGG VRA crime or crime of violence.
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