June 4 marked the 17th anniversary of the "Killdozer."
Never underestimate a disgruntled citizen with unlimited access to steel and concrete. The scary but compelling story of a crazy Coloradan (who translated his anger over zoning issues into a bulldozer rampage through the town of Granby) has become legendary—and now it has become a documentary.
Produced by Doug Liman and directed by Paul Solet, Tread portrays one of the most bizarre incidents in Colorado history. Check out the trailer here:
If you're unfamiliar with the crazy story of Marvin Heemayer, then let us have the pleasure of filling you in ...
In the early 2000s, Heemayer—a resident of Grand Lake, Colorado—was in the middle of a dispute with Granby city officials over the rezoning of the land adjacent to his muffler shop. He had sold the adjoining parcel of land but then apparently regretted the decision when the land was rezoned for the construction of a concrete batch plant. The new plant would limit physical access to his own business, and according to him, the rezoning decision cost him between $300,000 and $500,000.
Despite his complaints and appeals, Heemayer not only found himself up against a brick (concrete?) wall of sorts, but he also found himself slapped with fines for various violations of his own, including not being hooked up to a sewer line (um, what?) and the presence of junk cars on his property.
Heemayer's shop and property where he built the Killdozer, courtesy of mapio.net
That's when he devised a plan. Over the course of a year and a half, Heemayer took a Komatsu D355A bulldozer he owned and modified it in his garage, adding layers of concrete mix and steel to create an armor plating (up to one foot thick in places) that made the vehicle resistant to explosives and ammunition. On June 4, 2004, he mailed off a package containing audiotapes to his brother, then proceeded on a rampage through the town, ultimately demolishing 13 buildings.
Courtesy of The Denver Post, via izismile.com
When the "killdozer" (as it was soon called) became stuck in a department store, Heemayer proceeded to shoot himself to death inside the vehicle. His was the only death in the incident, thankfully. The vehicle was so well-armed that it took more than 12 hours for officials to retrieve Heemayer's body following his suicide.
In the three hours of audio that he left behind, Heemayer said he believed it was God's plan that he carry out the attack and that everything, from the auction where he purchased the bulldozer to the fact that nobody had discovered the armored vehicle while he was transforming it, were all divine signs that everything was working together in his favor. He hoped "To show the town the real mafia-type tactics that they [city officials] were using," the audiotapes revealed.
"That's the way it's supposed to be," he said on the tapes. "God blessed me in advance for the task that I am about to undertake. It is my duty. God has asked me to do this. It's a cross that I am going to carry and I'm carrying it in God's name."
Tread includes interviews with townspeople and witnesses, recreated scenes of the rampage, and snippets from Heemayer's audiotapes, as well as clips of news footage.
What do you think? Have you seen the movie yet? Have you ever heard of this little piece of Colorado history? Tell us in the comments!