Man with machete at Champions Center dead, refused to cooperate with police

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information.

A man is dead after a confrontation with police where he brandished a machete Wednesday morning at the Champions Center on the University of Colorado campus, CU spokesperson Ryan Huff said. The center is still closed for investigation and will resume normal hours Thursday. The CU Sports Medicine and Performance Center will open at 12:30 p.m., and patients scheduled before then will be rescheduled.

The Boulder County Coroner’s Office Thursday night identified the suspect as Brandon Simmons, 28, of Thornton, according to the Daily Camera. CU Spokesman Ryan Huff said Simmons is not affiliated with the university, according to the Camera. Simmons was a recently discharged Marine.

Police arrived on the scene after receiving a 911 call at 9:15 a.m. saying there was a man menacing with a machete in front of the center; multiple calls followed. Students and faculty in the center went on lockdown during the incident, and police escorted them out of the building after the suspect died, said Scott Pribble, public information officer for the CU-Boulder Police Department.

CU sent an alert to students and faculty at 9:30 a.m. with a warning to “take appropriate precautions,” and another alert at 9:40 a.m. saying the suspect had been apprehended and that the area was clear. A CU alert still advised students to avoid the Champions Center and its surrounding areas at about 10 a.m.

Police shot the suspect after he ignored commands to drop his weapon. They confronted him on a stairwell between the fourth and fifth floors after he followed a clinic patient into the center.

The Daily Camera reported that the suspect is white — the Camera’s source described him as a religious zealot who was overheard talking about “looking for sinners.”

The suspect was the only individual injured on the scene. Police response to the situation was a joint effort between CUPD and the Boulder Police Department, according to Pribble.

CUPD Chief Melissa Zak said at a 4 p.m. press conference on campus that a Boulder police officer and a CUPD officer fired at the suspect and are both on administrative leave during the investigation, as is protocol. Zak said she did not yet know if the officers had non-lethal weapon alternatives with them, but believes that they were in a justified deadly force situation. Zak said the use of force was in “best interest” due to the suspect’s weapon, statements he made and the way he was “maneuvering” through the building, according to the Daily Camera.

“At this time, for me to second-guess one of my officers and their decision to discharge a pistol would be … unfair to what they were faced with at that time,” she said.

A CU alert advised students to avoid the Champions Center and its surrounding areas at about 10 a.m. The center is still closed for investigation and is expected to resume normal activity on Thursday.

“It is an ongoing situation — we’ve now turned it over to the Boulder County investigative team, since it was an officer-involved shooting, to continue this investigation,” Pribble said.

The incident came just hours before false reports of an active shooter brought police to the UMC, which was evacuated and announced clear at 2:06 p.m.

This is a developing situation and more information is expected to come out in the next few days.

Contact CU Independent News Staff Writer Carina Julig at

Contact CU Independent News Staff Writer Lucy Haggard at

Contact CU Independent Breaking News Editor Gavin Daugherty at

CU Independent Copy Editor Jordyn Siemens, Editorial Manager Ellis Arnold and Copy Editor Jake Mauff contributed to this report.

Carina Julig

Carina Julig serves as the managing editor of the CU Independent. A junior majoring in journalism and political science, she formerly interned at the Boulder Daily Camera and studied journalism abroad in the Balkans. She is a California native and cut her teeth in student journalism at her San Diego high school.

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