DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — Two residents in Highlands Ranch have been charged with assault and conspiracy after allegedly setting a trip wire on their front walkway, which triggered a device to set off a loud bang and ended up injuring a door-to-door salesman.
On March 10 just before 3 p.m., a deputy with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office responded to a call for assistance along the 9200 block of Ashburn Court in Highlands Ranch.
When the deputy arrived at the scene, he met with a 25-year-old victim who worked as a door-to-door salesman for a house painting company, according to an affidavit. The man said the previous day, March 9, he had started to walk up to a home on Ashburn Court along the driveway and then the walkway to the front door. As he moved toward the door, his foot or lower leg hit a wire, which caused an unseen device to make a loud bang.
The victim said he saw a bright white flash of light and felt disoriented. He remembered having blurred vision and ringing in his ears. He told police he didn't know where the sound came from, according to the affidavit.
He left the front area of the house and met up with his co-worker a few houses over. The co-worker told police that he heard the loud bang and believed the victim had been shot, according to the affidavit.
As the two men stood outside the house, they saw a man open the house's garage door. The man said, "No trespassing," according to the affidavit.
The two salesmen later described him as about 6 feet tall and middle-aged, with a heavy build and black and gray hair.
The salesmen left the area and the resident went back inside, according to the affidavit.
The victim later called police to report that the incident had left him with a constant headache and ringing in his ears. He described the bang as the same sharp sound as a time when he had shot a .45 caliber handgun without ear protection, according to the affidavit. During a discussion with police on March 14, he said his hearing was still not back to normal and sounds were muffled in his right ear.
Police determined the house where the trap was set up was occupied by Bryan Hill, 61, and Tracy Jo Remington, 57.
A detective and sergeant with the sheriff's office did a neighborhood canvas on March 14 and observed a wire suspended in the air across the house's walkway. They spotted a device in the bush near the walkway. The duo spoke with neighbors, who said they were aware of the device and Hill had warned them to not let their kids come to the house "because they would get hurt," the affidavit reads.
The following day, March 15, deputies executed a search warrant. During this, a woman, identified as Remington, was taken into custody, according to the affidavit. Hill was not home at that time.
The deputies collected the device from the front yard and found that it looked like a 12-gauge shotgun round without the projectiles — a blank round. The device was designed to still make the same sound as a shotgun being shot.
Around this point, Hill returned home. He confirmed the contraption was his and called it a "warning device." Remington also confirmed she was aware of the device, according to the affidavit.
Members of the county SWAT team also responded to the home and found an additional device set up in the fenced-off backyard. It had a similar design, but was loaded with a chemical and aimed at head height. The chemical appeared to be similar to pepper spray. It was set up out of view of the pathway from the gate into the backyard. According to the affidavit, this put public workers, who have the right of way to enter the backyard to complete work, at risk.
Hill and Remington have been charged with felony menacing, three counts of prohibited use of a weapon, second-degree assault, conspiracy and third-degree assault.