Killdozer: Why did Marvin Heemeyer go on a rampage?
There are stories in true crime that are, truly, disturbing. They can & will show how even the most ordinary appearing people can one day just sort of snap. It’s definitely disturbing because, while these folks appear ordinary, they have instead gotten either radicalized or built such an insane narrative in their head about how the entire world is out to get them that they sort of strike back.
This is the case with Marvin Heemeyer, a fifty-two year-old man who went on a rampage in his small Colorado town after a zoning dispute. Ever heard of Killdozer? Not the bad movie, but the actual IRL Killdozer? Luckily, no one died in the assault of Killdozer, but the name has stayed. So what caused Marvin Heemeyer to go on this rampage? How did it get to that point?
We’re not going to get too in-depth about what led to Marvin Heemeyer modifying a bulldozer into, essentially, a tank. If you are curious, then plenty of true crime podcasts have done episodes covering it, which can go over an hour long. Swindled recently did a good episode about Heemeyer & Killdozer, which is what we’re going to recommend for further listening.
What we can boil down to the facts of the case is this. Heemeyer had been feuding with officials in Granby, Colorado, where he lived, and the Docheff family, who owned a concrete plant in town. Why? Well, Heemeyer bought some land at an auction to make a muffler shop, which the Docheff’s wanted to expand the concrete plant. There were negotiations for the land, which Heemeyer jacked to a million dollar price.
Naturally, the Docheff’s weren’t going to pay that sort of money. Instead, they bought land near Heemeyer’s plot to build on there. Heemeyer tried to appeal the decision with the zoning board, who said no. In addition, they wanted Heemeyer on the sewer line for the town as well. Basically, all these appeals & court dates were costing Heemeyer some serious money.
Well, you see, Marvin Heemeyer was feeling like the real victim here.
After all, the officials of Granby, Colorado were clearly corrupt and in bed with the Docheff’s. The only logical solution, of course, was to modify a bulldozer that he had left over from auction. That & the land were the only two things left in Marvin Heemeyer’s life, so he was going to use them to destroy his enemies.
Heemeyer turned the bulldozer into, essentially, a tank. He made sure that, if running, no one could stop that thing unless he wanted to stop it. Like, there was a chance that when Heemeyer got into the Killdozer and sealed himself inside? He wasn’t getting out again if the Killdozer didn’t start. They would have found his body in the car at some point in time.
On June 4, 2004, Marvin Heemeyer lowered himself into the Killdozer, closed the hatch, and, well, it turned on. With that, he drove out of the shop that he had been building the Killdozer in to start his rampage.
How bad was it?
The only person to die on June 4, 2004 on the Killdozer spree was Marvin Heemeyer, who shot himself in the head after mostly completing what he set out to do. Seriously, it was a minor miracle that no one else died. During his rampage, Hemeyer destroyed homes & businesses, important places in Granby, in order to make his point clear that he wouldn’t be pushed around by the town officials.
During the over two hour rampage, things got so heated that the governor of Colorado at the time considered deploying the National Guard. Eventually, things ended, not because Granby was entirely finished, he was going to keep on going until all of Granby was gone. When demolishing a local hardware store, Marvin Heemeyer and his Killdozer got stuck in the foundation and couldn’t move.
In the aftermath of the attack, Granby rebuilt and the Killdozer was eventually broken down for scrap. Heemeyer himself has been turned into the martyr for the far right or anti-government people, who try to get their hands on the Killdozer scrap to this day.
What do you think about the story of Marvin Heemeyer? Let us know in the comments below.