GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado (KKCO) – A Grand Junction woman shares her story after her home was severely damaged during a SWAT standoff.

On May 5, 2022, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office was called to a house in the 2900 block of Down Drive after receiving a call about a domestic violence situation. Cristina Del Real rents a house and lives there with her children. According to the deputies, her 35-year-old husband Michael Montez barricaded himself in the house, refusing to come out.

According to the sheriff’s office, Montez is a hardened domestic violence offender with three previous convictions. The sheriff’s office said Montes was allowed to leave prison as part of a community corrections program. Public corrections allow inmates to leave the prison each day to go to work, but return to prison when their work day is over. According to the sheriff’s office, Montez never returned to jail, but instead went to his ex-wife’s house.

According to police affidavits, someone from the home called 911 and said that Montes was once again being violent in the home. The affidavit stated that Del Real had visible wounds, but denied that Montez had harmed her and denied that Montez was in the house.

The deputies said they tried to force Montez to leave, but refused several times. Eventually SWAT was called in to rescue Montez. The special forces eventually used tear gas and explosives to get into the house and arrested Montez.

Nearly two months later, Montes is in the Mesa County Detention Center and Del Real has returned to the house. The house itself is in need of repair. Some windows have already been replaced, while others are still boarded up with chipboard. Del Real herself believes that what the special forces did was overkill.

“He wouldn’t leave the house,” Del Real said. “So they did everything they could just to get him to detain him or something. But to be honest, for what happened, it was more of an overpowering force.”

Del Real said the floorboards in the house had persistent tear gas stains, as did the carpets. She has since ripped them out and is working on replacing them.

“Everything in my house had to be cleaned,” Del Real said. “Everything that could be washed had to be washed. Everything that wasn’t there had to be thrown away.”

Due to the condition of her house, she herself lived in the garage of the house. Her children live with their family in Utah while she works on home renovations, she said.

According to Del Real, SWAT cut through her mesh fence instead of using the gate. According to her, her car was also damaged. All this, she claims, could have been avoided.”

“I didn’t know the police were going to come and destroy my house, otherwise I wouldn’t have given them permission to enter,” Del Real said. But I just found it was unnecessary. It was unnecessary power. My husband was not armed. He poses no danger to anyone but me. I don’t know why they did what they did.”

However, the sheriff’s office believes they did what they had to do, and given Montez’s violent history, calling SWAT was appropriate.

“You don’t know once that door opens what the appropriate response will be,” said Lieutenant Henry Stoffler. “We hope it will be something non-violent and compliant. But we want to be ready for any circumstances, and that we have all the tools. So on the outside it looks like they’re over-armed, when in fact all they are are a few different tools, depending on what happens when that door opens.”

Ever since Montes was arrested, Del Real said it fell to her to renovate the house. She rents a house and claims that her landlord will not help her in any way and she is expected to pay the bill for the repairs.

“They just boarded up my house and wished me a good day after they broke all the windows in my house and blew up my front door,” Del Real said. I don’t believe this is fair. I think everything should have been done differently, very differently.”

In situations like this where a home is being destroyed, there are programs that can help victims like Del Real get back on their feet when their homes are destroyed, Stoffler said.

“Initially, we linked them to the courts,” Stoffler said. “Once the case is filed through the DA’s office, they have a very robust victim assistance program. We have a victim assistance program here at the sheriff’s office and we will work with her to either provide her with housing or a safe place to live, and arrange to help restore and repair those items that may be damaged. “.

According to Del Real, the district attorney’s office denied her application on the grounds that she refused to cooperate with police during the response at her home. Del Real said she cooperated fully with deputies at the scene. However, according to police affidavits, Del Real was uncooperative. The affidavit stated that she denied Montez was in the house the entire time. It also stated that at first she would not allow the deputies to enter the house, but she eventually gave them permission before withdrawing the permission. However, SWAT received a search warrant, allowing them to enter the house and escort Montez out.

“Ideally, in an ideal world, a person would give up, and everything would go very peacefully, and nothing would happen to any of the inhabitants,” Stoffler said. “Unfortunately, we have situations where they have to do a dynamic entry and take that person into custody.”

Now Del Real said she is seeking thousands of dollars out of her own pocket to try and renovate her home.

“They did a lot of damage to my house, which is the main problem,” Del Real said. “I have to replace all of this. There is no insurance.”

Montez faces several charges:

Violation of a protection order.

– Assault in the third degree.

– Wrongful imprisonment.

– Resisting arrest.

– Absence or refusal to leave the premises or props at the request of the peace officer.

– A perpetrator who committed ordinary domestic violence, after three previous convictions.

– Domestic violence.

– Obstruction of the peace officer, firefighters or medical personnel of the ambulance.

– Unauthorized absence, AGG VRA crime or violent crime.

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