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Bulldozer rampage in Colorado

An armed man destroyed a building with a bulldozer in Granby, Colorado.
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Gunman in bulldozer goes on rampage through Granby, CO.
Disasters and Accidents
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Denver (Colorado)

(CNN) -- A man reportedly angry about a zoning decision drove a large bulldozer fortified with steel plates through Granby, Colorado, Friday afternoon, demolishing parts of the town center and exchanging gunfire with authorities, officials said.

Officials said all of the buildings that were damaged or destroyed appeared to be intentionally targeted as a result of the zoning dispute.

There are no immediate reports of injuries.

About an hour and a half after the rampage began, law enforcement officers surrounded the modified vehicle on the city's main street, Grand County Manager Lurline Curran told CNN in a phone interview.

All was quiet inside the cab, which is enclosed with steel plates, Curran said. Law enforcement is cautiously trying to extricate the individual.

"They don't know if he's still alive or what's going on," Curran said.

At the height of the rampage, the bulldozer virtually demolished a concrete batch plant, the town hall, a bank, a library and the local newspaper's offices.

Curran said the modified bulldozer was so big that it was "hard to stop."

"He fortified it with some armored plates, so it was very difficult for our sheriff's department to do anything to stop him. He also had a weapon so we had to be very cautious," she said. "We moved in one of our scrapers from out of the landfill trying to block his way."

She said authorities believe they know the suspect and think his rampage stems from a zoning dispute dating back more than a year.

Neil Dewet, manager of the Silver Spur Saloon and Steakhouse about a half block from the town hall, said he knows the man in the bulldozer, and said he actually welded himself inside the cab.

"He was not coming out of there," Dewet told CNN in a phone interview, adding that he watched as the vehicle demolished town hall, about 150 feet from where he stood.

Dewet said the man owns the bulldozer and modified it inside a building he owns near the concrete batch plant.

Dewet says the man, whom he says is in his 50s, is angry about a zoning decision that allowed the concrete plant to expand around his building instead of buying his land.

Tim Neal, another Granby resident, told CNN he watched the bulldozer target specific buildings and homes -- homes of city board members that made the zoning decision.

"Everybody knew he would go after everybody on the town board," Neal said in a phone interview.

Mark Stutz of Xcel Energy said his company's building in Granby was also heavily damaged when the vehicle was briefly pinned against it by the scraper. To escape, the driver reversed the bulldozer and crashed through the building.

Damage to the town hall and the concrete batch plant included broken gas lines, Stutz told KUSA.

Police and other law enforcement officers are evacuating residents and shutting down roads in the town of about 1,500 residents, the county manager said.

Resident Julie Cautrell told KUSA that she could see smoke coming from downtown and that cars were lining the roads out of town. She said the armor-plated bulldozer was "as big as a tank, if not bigger."

"We did hear that several of our buildings in Granby have been demolished and that everything is shot up," she said.

Granby is about 70 miles northwest of Denver, near Rocky Mountain National Park.

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