Hostage, sexual assault suspect, die in police standoff |

Hostage, sexual assault suspect, die in police standoff


COLORADO SPRINGS ” A man suspected of sexual assault killed a female hostage Thursday before killing himself as police entered an apartment where he had held officers at bay for more than two hours, officials said.

Barnell Stidham, 38, and Della Paulson, 60, who police identified as an acquaintance, died in the standoff that ended about 6 p.m., Colorado Springs police spokesman Sgt. Mark Stevens said.

“It’s not a random thing,” Stevens had said earlier.

Police detonated flash grenades and entered the apartment where Stidham had taken Paulson hostage nearly two hours earlier. Two shots were fired before police were able to fire their weapons, Stevens said.

Ashley Shoemaker, an acquaintance of Paulson, had met Stidham last month.

“When I met him, he was a really nice guy, really polite. He didn’t really seem like he could hurt anybody. He told me he worked for the city.”

Stidham’s criminal record included a robbery conviction for which he was sentenced in 1998 to serve in the Colorado Department of Corrections.

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