Police investigating email calling for ‘civil war’ sent to Tri-County Health Board Tuesday

Tri-County Health Department headquarters in Greenwood Village. PHOTO BY PHILIP B. POSTON/Sentinel Colorado

AURORA | Tri-County Health Department board members on Tuesday received a threatening email calling for ‘civil war’ if members do not immediately end restrictions intended to curb the spread of COVID-19, according to information released by the Greenwood Village Police Department.

A receptionist for Tri-County Health, which oversees all public health decisions in Aurora, received an email at approximately 4 p.m. May 5 with instructions to: “Tell the nine petty tyrants who want to keep locking most of Colorado down to F*** off,” according to a report filed with Greenwood Village police.

The local health board comprises nine board members. Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas Counties each get three delegates.

The message continued: “We the people are done with this f***ing bulls***, and you are about to start a hot-shooting, no-bulls*** civil war. End the lockdown now or face severe consequences.”

Many Arapahoe and Adams County businesses are expected to slide into a more relaxed phase of reopening with fewer commercial restrictions this weekend.

Crystal Dean, a spokeswoman for Greenwood Village police, said investigators have identified a name associated with the gmail account from which the email was sent, but she declined to name any suspects. Police have since increased patrols around the Tri-County Health headquarters on South Willow Drive in Greenwood Village.

A spokesman for the Aurora Police Department said investigators are currently looking into four additional incidents of vandalism at the Tri-County outpost on East Hampden Avenue. Officer Matt Longshore said the outer pane of a window was found damaged at the facility April 20, and the word “a**holes” was written on the building’s facade in spray paint on May 4. The windows were also damaged in separate incidents on April 16 and April 18. The cases have been assigned to a detective, Longshore said.

Board members with Tri-County Health, some citing concerns about their safety, were urged Wednesday to talk about the incident in an executive session meeting, which was closed to the public. 

A spokeswoman from Tri-County didn’t immediately return requests for comment.

During the public meeting Wednesday morning, department executive Dr. John Douglas told board members that public health orders are becoming increasingly political, and thus a potential con to mandating wearing face coverings to combat the coronavirus in Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties. 

“There is evidence of ‘public health order fatigue’ among some members of the public and some indication that ordering a potentially useful step such as face coverings would lead some who might otherwise be inclined to use them to not do so as an act of defiance,” Dr. Douglas wrote in a Powerpoint slide. 

Denver and Boulder have already enacted mandatory face coverings in public beyond Gov. Jared Polis’s executive order requiring some essential workers to wear them. 

Tri-County Health instead will conduct an educational campaign about the masks, despite being asked by some jurisdictions to make the public health order.