Suspect arrested after breaking into Colorado Supreme Court building

By Brendan O’Brien

(Reuters) -A man was arrested on Tuesday after he broke into the Colorado Supreme Court building in Denver with a handgun and lit a fire in a stairwell, police said.

Police arrested Brandon Olsen, 44, on charges of arson, robbery and burglary, saying he fled the scene of a car crash shortly after 1 a.m., broke into the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center in downtown Denver and shot out a window.

Police said Olsen took keys from an unarmed security guard whom he held at gunpoint and made his way up the building’s seventh floor, where he fired shots and lit a fire in a stairwell that was soon extinguished by the sprinkler system.

Olsen surrendered to police without incident at about 3 a.m., the Denver Police Department said in a statement.

Although the suspect was taken to hospital and cleared by medical personnel, nobody was injured, the Colorado State Patrol said in a statement.

It was unclear whether Olsen was represented by a lawyer who could make a statement in his defense.

The motive for the break-in was unclear, but the Colorado State Patrol all but ruled out any connection to the Colorado Supreme Court’s recent decision over Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy.

The Colorado Supreme Court disqualified the former president from the state’s Republican primary ballot for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters.

The court ruled that Trump was barred by a U.S. constitutional provision that prohibits anyone who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” from holding public office.

Justices then became the target of harassment and possible threats.

A preliminary investigation showed a “high probability” the break-in was unrelated to recent threats against the justices, the state patrol said in the statement.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Additional reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Muralikumar Anantharaman)