"At first I just - you know - I couldn't believe it," Kent Prosch, scoutmaster with Troop 77 in Boulder, said. "It just seemed really out of character for him."
Ben Haskew, 36, sustained multiple gunshot wounds when three members of Larimer County Sheriff's Office SWAT team returned fire, according to reports from Larimer County District Attorney's Office.
Haskew's wife, three sons and daughter were not in the home on Bruce Drive when shots were fired, but the initial police response Monday night was to a domestic-violence call involving a man with a gun.
"I was just really surprised what started it off," Prosch said. "He was a really devoted family man and really devoted to his kids."
Haskew grew up in Lyons and was in scouting as a teenager. About four to five years ago, he became involved with Troop 77, even though his own kids weren't old enough to join.
Kyle Trinkner, 18, a freshman at Colorado State University, said Haskew was a positive and inspirational influence.
"He told us about crazy things [he did] in high school and gave us advice on how to avoid the teenage pitfalls he fell into," Trinkner said. "He really connected well with us."
He said that during his Eagle Scout ceremony last May, he was to select one person who helped the most in his journey. Trinkner selected Haskew.
"He was always himself, and he was always so happy and full of life because of it," Trinkner said. "I've learned from him that you just got to be yourself instead of what other people want you to be."
Haskew's rugged, flatbed pickup - painted like army camouflage, affixed with bullhorns and full-size American and Confederate flags, and adorned with decals such as "Redneck" and "Secession: The right thing to do" - was an eye-catcher in his otherwise modest neighborhood.
"He was always kind of funny because he called himself a redneck," Prosch said. "And he would always have some comment about how things were done in the past versus how they're done now."
He said Haskew would use the pickup to haul gear for campouts with the Scouts. During those trips, Haskew seemed to enjoy most the conversation around the campfire, Prosch said.
"He was pretty conservative in his views, and of course, in Boulder you have a more liberal place, and so most of these boys were liberal," he said. "He really enjoyed the back-and-forth debate, and I think the Scouts did, too."
Haskew would get up first thing in the morning and make coffee. He taught the Scouts skills ranging from knots to building fires and cooking.
"He was my friend," Prosch said. "He was a good guy, and it was really, really sad what happened with him."
Ken Feighner, a former neighbor of Haskew, said he was the guy who would offer to keep an eye on your house during vacations.
"He liked to wrench on the vehicles he had out in front," he said. "If you were out working on your vehicle, he would come out with a socket set and give you a hand."
Feighner said Haskew homeschooled his kids and spent most of his time with them.
Kent Ward, whose son has been in the troop for three years, said he recalls his first campout with the Scouts in 2007 at Great Sand Dune National Park.
"It was a brutally cold, windy campout in spring," he said, adding that Haskew had brought along one of his daughters. "A lot of the younger Scouts were crying for their mothers, and his daughter was very capable of dealing with cold weather, wind and all of that."
Ward said while he only knew Haskew through the Boy Scouts, he couldn't have imagined last week's events unfolding as reported.
"He's not a violent guy," he said. "It's a huge loss."
Trinkner said Haskew was "always so careful" with guns, and he taught the boys about gun safety.
"It's unexplainable to me what went through his life or what happened that changed that or made him think that was the only option," he said. "But I don't know what happened ... Something must have really tipped him over."
Story written by Robert Allen of the Fort Collins Coloradoan.
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