Man who fired at SWAT officers during standoff sentenced to 240 years in jail


(Photo: First Judicial District Attorney’s Office)

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — A Morrison man who fired shots at SWAT officers following a domestic violence assault and police standoff was sentenced to 240 years in prison Tuesday, according to the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

On April 23, Ralph Kirk Barnhardt, 45, was convicted of 39 counts, including  attempted murder, first-degree assault, child abuse and menacing with a deadly weapon, regarding a domestic violence incident that led to a six-hour police standoff at 12574 W. Grand Ave. in Morrison in July 2013.

“This crime is particularly egregious in that it went on for hours, despite the many opportunities Mr. Barnhardt had to reverse the course of action that day and to end the chain of events he had put into play,” said Assistant DA Michael Dougherty, “Despite hours of telephone communication with a SWAT negotiator, Mr. Barnhardt continued to refuse to surrender and ultimately fired 11 shots out the front window at SWAT officers, forcing them to bring the incident to an end.”

In the morning hours of July 5, 2013, Barnhardt’s estranged wife, Dawn, and their 10-year-old son went to his home in Morrison following several text messages in which he insisted they go to the house to feed the dogs.

The DA’s Office said Dawn did not expect to find her estranged husband home when she arrived. When she did get to his house, Barnhardt began yelling, causing her to leave and return to her car.

Barnhardt followed Dawn and their son out to her vehicle. He leaned in over the passenger side, where his son sat, and punched his wife in the face, head and shoulders repeatedly.

Landscapers nearby heard Dawn’s screams and ran over to help her.

Deputies arrived at 10 a.m. and the incident escalated to a standoff with SWAT team members after Barnhardt barricaded himself in his home holding a semi-automatic gun in each hand.

Barnhardt fired 11 shots directly at officers.

Law enforcement returned the fire, hitting Barnhardt.

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