How many times when you have had a bitter experience of dealing with government or university authorities and then resorted to build a tank and unleash it on the City Hall? Multiple times I guess! But, these are just random revenge thoughts that disappear with time as the majority of us move on. But, some people have had such a bad experience in dealing with the government and it’s corrupt practices that they choose to strike back and teach them a good lesson. This guy named Marvin Heemeyer was one of those people. In 2004, after a prolonged legal battle with a private organization’s lobbying in the governmental departments, he lost his legitimate case and went haywire entirely.
Instead of taking his frustration out on Alcohol or a random act of street violence, he had a plan. He would attack the people involved in this scam and knock their hideouts, as he called them, to the ground. This guy, an ex-military man had a chain of shops around the state which he leased out one by one except the big one in Granby, which he operated himself. He also became involved in local politics and his volatile personality made it sure that he got more than his share of enemies in the Town Hall. It wasn’t like he was a stubborn, angry man. He was even described by many as enjoyable and said that he was actually someone who would bend backward to create room for other people.
But, his erratic personality made him lose when he entered a legal war against the Docheff family. The Docheffs wanted to erect a concrete batch plant on that land, and they were willing to pay compensation. Starting in the 1990s, the case dragged on as Heemeyer was in no mood to sell his land and kept demanding ridiculous sums of money to stall the transfer. The concrete company was aware of his stubbornness to sell the land, so they went to the City Hall and sought re-zoning of the area where the shop was located. This was backstabbing according to Heemeyer, and he kept attending the council meetings to protect his interests. But later on, the zoning commission and trustees approved the plan put forward by the concrete company and to subdue the owner, they even slapped a massive fine for small offenses like not connecting his shop to sewerage line and his garage full of junk cars. All of this was done due to some shady deals being conducted between the officials and the Docheffs. Kickbacks and favors were involved, and Heemeyer couldn’t prove these allegations.
Naturally, a volatile person would lose control and hit back at his opponents, but at least in the beginning sense prevailed in him as he tried to spread the news and gain sympathy from the public. He tried political maneuvering and even purchased a bulldozer from his own money to construct a road that can allow his customers access to his shop, but the city council declined every legitimate request he ever made to them. His new sewer line plan was also rejected by the people around him, and he was left with nothing. Many people knew about the shady deals between the council and the Docheffs, but there was no proof. The company damaged him, his reputation and property to the point of np-return just to get back at him and now he was planning to return the favor. He drew out the 2,500 $ fine on a check and wrote coward on it. It was a warning from him that he will repel their attack.
Having no recourse from this, he sold his beloved property to a local trash company that gave him six months to vacate. He started to work on his bulldozer immediately. It was moved into the hardware shop, and he started making military-grade modifications to it. He added some home-made composite armor to the engine, cab and even parts of the tracks. The armor was cement sandwiched between thick sheets of steel. He also added front and back cameras to monitor the movement and steering when he would go gangsta against the city. He also maintained a separate compartment for storing a stockpile of food and water to last several hours. He also had an air tank to improve circulation during his ordeal.
For a psychopath, he was very organized in his thoughts about the upgrades. He documented his work through notes and audio tapes. He said in one of them “I am going to sacrifice my life, my miserable future that you gave me, to show you that what you did is wrong.” He was totally committed and motivated for his twisted cause of damaging his opponents. On another occasion, he justified his armor development by saying “I was always willing to be reasonable until I had to be unreasonable. Sometimes reasonable men must do unreasonable things.” He even installed some high-calibre sniper rifles inside to take out his enemies.
In 2004, his troubles multiplied, and he must have become depressed beyond measure. His father died, and he caught his partner cheating with him, and he ended his relationship with her. Now, he set out to take revenge against the people that made him miserable. In the morning of the fourth of June 2004, he climbed into the bulldozer cum tank with a handwritten list of targets he needed to eliminate and set it on a course.
His first target was the Mountain Park Concrete plant, and he smashed through it. The police responded shortly after it and tried to surround the heavily armored bulldozer but couldn’t do so. It would crush any obstacle in its path and bullets simply reflected from it. One of the owners named Cody Docheff tried to stop him with a front end loader, but he stopped when Heemeyer fired on him from close range. Now that people knew he was armed and ready, they simply didn’t care to stand in its path, and it kept rampaging around freely. Within minutes, the two buildings were eviscerated along with all the vehicles and now the Killerdozer made its way to outside towards the City.
Interestingly, nobody could come near the bulldozer, but the police still had to keep an eye on him, so they surrounded him with emergency cars and escorts, and it appeared like a VIP motorcade inbound towards the city. One police Sports Utility Vehicle ventured near and was almost crushed beneath it. One brave undersheriff jumped atop the dozer and still couldn’t force his way inside. He fired 37 rounds to the opening hatch but to no avail. He later admitted that he would have killed Heemeyer because that was the only way left for us to stop his utter madness.
Meanwhile, the vehicle was difficult to control by the local authorities. There are hardly any tanks in the vicinity to try and stop it, so it effortlessly demolished buildings and cars as Heemeyer wanted it to. The controls got affected as it sustained damaged from constant bulldozing, and it started to swerve left and right. Still Hemeeyer was able to hit his targets. They included the house of a former mayor, a local newspaper that spread news against him in return for kickbacks, business of a former councilman and even the City Hall itself. No people were killed or injured during this long gangsta frenzy by the ex-military man.
To stop it, the Granby police sanctioned an industrial scale scraper to stop it in its tracks but the bulldozer shoved the lighter vehicle aside in a mighty collision. Who says size doesn’t matter. In a mayhem-filled hour, he had demolished almost thirteen buildings throughout the city and now he set course for his next target, Gamble’s hardware. The damage from small arms and constant demolition was taking its toll on the heavy vehicle, and the already slow dozer was stopping due to a leakage in the radiator. As it crashed into the hardware store, The weakly laid floor beneath it fell and the front fell inside a shallow basement. No matter how hard he tried, the heavy vehicle wouldn’t budge.
As the SWAT teams lined up against it, a single shot was heard, and Heemeyer was found dead inside later on. He had committed suicide with a .357 handgun. His tragic death was the only casualty of the whole incident. Even today, there are many people who idolize Heemeyer for what he did by standing out against governmental corruption and using his genius and pure effort to teach them a hard-earned lesson. But, we cannot deny that he wanted to kill his targets too. The slow speed of the killer dozer didn’t allow him to do that, but he would have. He even tried to bring down a wall on police officers who were an innocent party, and he also attempted to set several caches of Propane tanks alight with his gun. Although, he had been wronged by the people, he still was a madman behind the wheel and probably harmed the civil infrastructure more than what the company owed him. But, this bizarre incident shows us how people can act crazy if they are wronged. It was a suicidal mission, and he didn’t want to live to pay the price for what he had done. So, in ways he was a coward as well.