Suspect tried to steal cars at store, then invaded Clifton home, affidavit says

Sara Hill stands Monday in her bedroom, the mirror damaged by tear gas canisters, a day after a four-hour standoff between police and a gunman who, authorities allege, had come to the home after he repeatedly tried but failed to steal a vehicle from a nearby convenience store.

Tear gas residue still hung in the air Monday morning, burning the throats and eyes of residents at a destroyed Clifton duplex that was the center of a police standoff with a gunman the day before.

With the electricity still turned off at 614B Jackson St., residents Sara Hill and Levi Costopoulos and their friends, Tim Mayo and Brett Ross, sifted through their belongings despite the shattered glass, gas canisters and a front door now marked with four bullet holes.

“It’s amazing that nobody got hit with one of those that came out of there,” a friend, Pat Pipes, said of .45-caliber bullets the gunman fired at police from behind a closed front door.

Five of the unit’s seven windows were shattered after police lobbed several rounds of tear gas into the home. One of those canisters pierced the center of a mirror in Hill’s bedroom. The gunman, 34-year-old George Roloff, is now facing charges related to an earlier attempted carjacking, the home invasion at the duplex and an ensuing standoff with police. After being in the home for about four hours, Roloff surrendered nearly 20 minutes after police launched the second of two rounds of tear gas.

After interviewing the residents, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department paid for a hotel room Sunday night for the four residents, the group said. They still were seeking accommodations on Monday morning for a place to sleep that night. They were unable to spend long periods of time inside the duplex because the burning effects of the gas lingered.

Roloff apparently used a .45-caliber gun that belonged to residents in the home to shoot through the door. One of the spent bullets was found Monday underneath a vehicle.

A single bullet was lodged in the garage, and the back garage door had holes where gas canisters were shot inside. The .45-caliber gun and other guns in the home were taken as evidence by law enforcement, residents said.

Police did not shoot at the suspect or into the home, law enforcement officials said.

It appeared the gunman grabbed a full bottle of tequila from the kitchen — although it was unopened — and smoked some of the residents’ cigarettes. As he surrendered, Roloff emptied his pockets of .45-caliber bullets onto the driveway, residents said. He may have used snowboarding goggles in the closet, earplugs and put something over his face to ward off the effects of the gas, Costopoulos said.

Although the gunman threatened to kill them with a shotgun and attempted to steal a car, residents on Monday shrugged off the tense turn of events.

“We didn’t do nothing, just kept ourselves alive,” Costopoulos said.


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