BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) – The homeowner who rents out one of the Boulder properties where a weekend gathering involving University of Colorado students got out of hand told the FOX31 Problem Solvers the eight female renters who live in the duplex were having a small gathering with friends when dozens of other people infiltrated the property.
“They’re not bad people. They’re good people, actually,” said Pedro Gonzalez, whose tenants live on the 1100 block of 10th Street in Boulder.
“These tenants are not the out-of-control CU students that are portrayed,” he told the Problem Solvers.
Gonzalez said he had been watching a movie with his family at a different location when he saw a notification about the ruckus from the Daily Camera, a Boulder news publication.
That caused him to inquire further with his tenants about the disturbance on the street where he owns the home.
He said he emailed the tenants, who later responded by telling him they had a small gathering of friends to play cornhole.
He said they told him that police broke up another party down the street earlier in the day, and when people dispersed from that, they started converging on the property Gonzalez owns. He said there was a party across the street from his tenants’ gathering as well.
“It seemed like a big mass of people came,” he said, explaining that he heard people were using the social media service, TikTok, to encourage others to show up at the same location.
“It got out of control, and then (my tenants) started calling 911 because people were walking on the roof of the porch. It was just insane … It was not their doing,” said Gonzalez. “I believe them. If they were bad tenants, I would have a different opinion.”
Gonzalez said his tenants told him they were hiding for their own safety and that they had a log of 11 phone calls they made to police during the course of the disturbance.
Neighbors who live along the same street, including Shannon Duss, who was celebrating her 21st birthday, said the mass of people who arrived on the street was “terrifying.”
She said several people on the street had small gatherings earlier in the day because the weather was nice.
“I think everyone was just trying to hang out and have fun with each other in small groups of 10 or less, and then, I don’t know, everyone just started flooding the streets, and it got bigger and bigger and bigger,” she recalled. “I just stayed inside with the doors locked.”
Olivia Cremo, who lives in the house with Duss and several other people but was not home at the time, said she was watching the situation unfold on social media.
“I just saw it on people’s snapchats and Instagram stories,” she said. “At night, when it got dark, I saw there was fireworks going, and I got worried that our house was going to catch on fire, and then they flipped the car.”
Gonzalez, who said he has been a landlord to various tenants over the last 25 years said he told the women their gathering was “not a smart, civic thing to do” given the current COVID health guidelines in place. He said the weekend riot was exacerbated by COVID restrictions.
The tenants, their parents, city council members, and Gonzalez helped clean up the street the following day.
“If it wasn’t this house, it would’ve been another house,” said Gonzalez, who said he did not condone his tenants’ party and called the young women’s behavior “poor judgement.”
Gonzalez said he would like to see the police department write more tickets for tenants who may be engaging in improper behavior. As a homeowner, he said, he might not ever find out about concerning issues if the authorities do not get involved.