So that story of the Smiths fan who held a station here hostage in the '80s? It's true...well, sort of
So what really happened?
According to Post, which first reported the incident that was later confirmed by Asakawa, who made reference to the arrest in his Off Beat column in Westword the following week, an unnamed eighteen-year-old Arvada man spent what police officials at the time speculated was months staking out the studios of Y108 (aka KRXY, the now defunct CHR station that used to broadcast on the 107.5 frequency now occupied by KS107), with presumed plans to ambush the station and take several employees hostage and then force them at gunpoint to play songs of the Smiths. That part of the story matches up with everything else that had previously been written.
What happened next, however, is where myth and reality seem to respectfully part ways, and the story takes on a life of its own. According to the Post, the gunman showed up at the station armed with a rifle, plus seven Smiths cassette tapes and an album, but in reality, his mettle dissolved apparently before he was able to execute his plan, and he never made it inside the building. Instead, he sat in the parking lot and reportedly asked for the police to be notified, after which he reportedly ended up turning himself in.
From the Post's article:
"A last minute change of heart apparently averted the hijacking of a Lakewood radio station but left an Arvada teenage in jail Wednesday.
The young man, 18, was arrested Tuesday evening in the parking lot of the radio station Y108 at 7075 W. Hampden Ave. after he called a station employee over to his car handed the employee a rifle and asked that police be called, said police spokesman John Hunt.
'I was going to hijack the station. I wanted to make them play some music,' blurted out the suspect when police arrived. He was taken into custody without incident and jailed under a $50,000 bond for investigation of attempted extortion and attempted kidnapping."
After some digging, we finally found a brief mention in Asakawa's column, which ran the following week after the incident. According to his account, the gunman actually made it into the station, at which point he reconsidered and turned over his weapon.
From Asakawa's Off Beat column in Westword:
"Security by Smiths and Wesson: Radio station KRXY (Y-108), the Lakewood-based Top 40 station, got a request that was hard to ignore. An eighteen-year-old Arvada man entered the station with a rifle to insist the station play seven tapes and an album by the Smiths, the now-defunct British band led by the whiny-voiced singer, Morrissey. [sic] The man was arrested after he changed his mind and gave the weapon to a station employee. He's now in the Jefferson County Jail, awaiting a psychiatric evaluation. The gun-toting Smiths fan set a dangerous precedent, using scare tactics to try and control the media. No radio station, no matter what the format, deserves that kind of treatment. But the lighter side, the fan should have known better than to request the Smiths from a Top 40 station. As far as Top 40's concerned, Morrissey might as well be a Martian. For his Smiths fix, the guy should've thrown his gun into the lake and tuned in to Fort Collins' KTCL, which plays the band in regular rotation."
In his biography, Simpson draws a loose and seemingly incidental correlation to the Columbine tragedy, which of course happened a decade later. The irony is that the arresting officer in this particular Smiths-related incident was actually a member of the SWAT unit at the time and later also happened to be one of the officers who responded to Columbine, which sits almost exactly five miles to the south, on that tragic afternoon in 1999. We spoke with the officer, and for his part, some 25 years later, he had no recollection of the incident.
Continue on for more on the story, including quotes from station employees who worked at Y108 at the time