GRANBY - Police are scratching their heads following an incident that turned out innocently enough, but in hindsight was clearly a case of bystander apathy.
A Granby citizen had his hunting rifle repaired at a business on Granby's Main Street recently. Since it was a pleasant day outside, the individual walked to the gunsmith to pick up the rifle when it was ready, purchased a box of ammunition, then strolled home with the gun slung over his shoulder and the ammunition in-hand - in plain sight.
Police later learned the ammo/gun-toting pedestrian peered into the Granby Library window on his way home, then meandered past the Granby Elementary school.
What was disturbing to police was that it took about 20 minutes after the man peered into the library, walked past a school and went home for a witness call them about a suspicous-looking individual.
Police proceeded to lockdown the elementary and middle schools.
Police later concluded "he did not do anything illegal; he did not threaten anyone, and he was not charged with anything," said Granby Police Chief Bill Housley. "But what was particularly disturbing was (witnesses) didn't report the incident immediately, and it was clearly suspicious enough that it should have been reported immediately."
Police merely counseled the gun toter about the wisdom of walking past an elementary school with a rifle in hand, Housley said.
Besides the person who finally called police, "four other people saw him walk from the library to the school and didn't call, and another person saw him walking past the elementary school and didn't call.
"It's the tendency for most of us as citizens to assume we're making more out of something than it appears," the chief said. "We like to think the best of people, and there's a tendency to think, well, that's no big deal, especially in a small town."
Housley implied with today's headlines of theater shootings, student abductions and other high-profile incidents in Colorado, people should err on the side of caution and call 911 right away to "let the police handle the situations appropriately."
- Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603