Man convicted of pointing rifle at traffic sentenced to probation
BRECKENRIDGE — Bryan Allan Hunt, a man convicted of felony menacing after pointing a rifle at traffic on Highway 9 last year, was sentenced to five years of supervised probation during a hearing at the Summit County Justice Center on Monday morning.
Hunt, 38, of Utah, was arrested after a tense altercation with police while suffering from a mental health crisis in April last year. He pleaded guilty to a felony charge of menacing in December, after more than 250 days in the Summit County Jail.
On April 4, 2019, a trooper with the Colorado State Patrol was dispatched to milepost 91 on Highway 9 — near the Tiger Run Resort north of Breckenridge — on a report that a man was sitting in his car and pointing a rifle at traffic.
On scene, the trooper approached Hunt standing near his car. According to police reports of the incident, Hunt was uncooperative throughout the encounter, ignoring commands from the trooper, and at one point even entering the driver’s area of the car where Hunt had placed his rifle. The trooper took out his gun and aimed it at Hunt, but despite fearing for his own life, decided not to shoot to avoid potentially hitting any traffic traveling behind him.
Officers with the Breckenridge Police Department arrived on scene soon after to assist. Hunt finally dropped to the ground, but continued to struggle against police, taking a knife out of a sheath on his hip and stabbing it into the ground, and resisting arrest. A Breckenridge officer was forced to deploy a Taser so that officers could place Hunt into handcuffs.
Police recovered a Mauser 25-06 from Hunt’s vehicle, along with a second rifle and a can of ammunition from the back seat. At the hearing on Monday, Hunt’s attorney Kevin Jensen said the ammunition didn’t fit either of the rifles in the car, and that he didn’t have a loaded weapon.
Hunt was taken to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco for treatment, and was later booked into the jail on charges of menacing, disorderly conduct, obstructing a peace officer and resisting arrest. On Dec. 2, Hunt pleaded guilty to menacing, a class 5 felony, and all the other charges were dropped.
Hunt appeared out of custody in front of Chief Judge Mark Thompson on Monday morning for sentencing. Both Hunt’s attorney and representatives from the Fifth Judicial District called for a probationary sentence in lieu of prison time so that Hunt could address his mental health issues in a safe environment.
“Placing him on probation and allowing him to have support services, and requiring that he take his medication, will ultimately have more of a benefit than sending him to prison where he could get out in a year without much in place to prevent something like this from happening again,” Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Cava said. “I say that with some hesitation. The community’s safety is paramount. But sending him to the department of corrections without trying this avenue would be more detrimental at the end of the day.”
Jensen said that Hunt has been attending therapy five days a week since the incident, and has been proactive in engaging with mental health professionals and addressing his issues.
“The man in front of the court today is a completely different person than he was when he was brought in for advisement,” Jensen said.
Hunt’s sister and her boyfriend also addressed the court, noting that they’ve witnessed Hunt’s struggles with mental health before, but said they trust him and assured the court that he has a proper support system in place at home. Finally, Hunt spoke for himself, offering a tearful apology to the community at large for his actions, and promising to continue to seek treatment.
“I never want to experience what I experienced again,” Hunt said. “I want to apologize. I was completely out of control. And I’m sorry to the community.”
Ultimately Thompson agreed with the attorneys in the case that a prison sentence wasn’t appropriate, sentencing Hunt to five years of supervised probation. Thompson applauded the trooper who saved Hunt’s life during the altercation.
“He demonstrated remarkable professionalism and control over himself and the situation,” Thompson said of the trooper. “I’m grateful he was here, because you didn’t end up getting shot. …
“I could take you off the street for a year, and that keeps the community safe for a year. But what if you get out and have another episode? It might not be in this community, but putting you in prison is not the answer. The inevitable here is you have to get treatment. The state will help you. I will give you orders to follow, but it’s up to you to address your mental condition with tenacity and awareness.”
Hunt will also be required to follow through with a mental health evaluation, and as a result of the felony conviction will be prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm.
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