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Man arrested in connection with attack on realtor

The victim said she was threatened with a knife and sprayed with pepper spray during the incident over the weekend.

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — A man has been arrested on numerous charges in connection with the attempted robbery of a realtor who was doing a showing in Commerce City earlier this month, Commerce City Police said in a release.

Ernest Robert Chrisman, 43, was arrested Thursday on the following charges:

  • First-degree burglary
  • Aggravated robbery
  • Second-degree assault

He was booked into the Adams County Detention Facility.

Commerce City Police responded to the 14700 block of E. 104th Avenue around 11:30 a.m. on August 4 for a report of an attempted robbery.

Officers met with Dawna Hetzler who reported she was a realtor and was conducting an open house showing of a residence.

Credit: Noel Brennan, KUSA
Dawna Hetzler fired a gun at Ernest Robert Chrisman as he attempted to rob her during a real estate showing in August 2018.

She said a man entered the home and threatened her with a knife and ordered her to give her some of her possessions.

Hetzler, who said she has a concealed carry permit, fired gunshots in his direction, scaring him away. 

RELATED: 'If I didn't have a firearm, I wouldn't be here to talk to you': Realtor describes attack at open house

“My life was in danger, and if I did not have my firearm, I would not be here to talk to you,” Hetzler told 9NEWS several days after the incident.

Hetzler said the man, later identified as Chrisman, arrived shortly after she started setting up for the open house. At the time, she said she thought nothing of it.

“He asked the right questions,” Hetzler said. “We talked about loans, what he had to qualify for.”

She said he picked up a brochure for the property and asked to see the upstairs. While they were in the master bedroom, Hetzler said he took a knife out as well as a small, six-inch piece of rope that apparently had bear spray tethered to it.

“He said, ‘This is a knife, this is bear spray.’ After he said, 'This is bear spray,’ he asked me to take off my ring and get into the closet,” Hetzler said.

This was when Hetzler said she began to fear for her life. She said she drew her gun, and the man responded by dousing her with bear spray.

RELATED: Realtor threatened at knifepoint during open house, police say

“I couldn’t see,” she said. “My skin was burning, my eyes were on fire, I couldn’t see, so I fired.”

After Chrisman ran away, Hetzler said she went downstairs and tried to find her phone, her vision obscured by bear spray. She called 911 and was later taken to the hospital. Days later, Hetzler said the residue from the bear spray still burns.

“Our men and women in blue helped me tremendously that day, and I am so grateful for their service,” Hetzler said.

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