When they were finished, it looked as though the Greenwood Village, Colorado, police had blasted rockets through the house.

Projectiles were still lodged in the walls. Glass and wooden paneling crumbled on the ground below the gaping holes, and inside, the family's belongings and furniture appeared thrashed in a heap of insulation and drywall. Leo Lech, who rented the home to his son, thought it looked like al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden's compound after the raid that killed him.

But now it was just a neighborhood crime scene, the suburban home where an armed Walmart shoplifting suspect randomly barricaded himself after fleeing the store on a June afternoon in 2015. For 19 hours, the suspect holed up in a bathroom as a SWAT team fired gas munition and 40-millimeter rounds through the windows, drove an armored vehicle through the doors, tossed flash-bang grenades inside and used explosives to blow out the walls.

The suspect was captured alive, but the home was utterly destroyed, eventually condemned to be demolished by the City of Greenwood Village.

That left Leo Lech's son, John Lech - who lived there with his girlfriend and her 9-year-old son - without a home. The city refused to compensate the Lech family for their losses, offering $5,000 in temporary rental assistance and for the insurance deductible.

Now, after the Leches sued, a federal appeals court has decided what else the city owes the Lech family for destroying their house more than four years ago: nothing.

On Tuesday, a three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit unanimously ruled that the city is not required to compensate the Lech family for their lost home because it was destroyed by police while they were trying to enforce the law, rather than taken by eminent domain.

The Lechs had sued under the Fifth Amendment's Takings Clause, which guarantees citizens compensation if their property is seized by the government for public use. But the court said that Greenwood Village was acting within its "police power" when it damaged the house, which the court said doesn't qualify as a "taking" under the Fifth Amendment. The court acknowledged that this may seem "unfair," but when police have to protect the public, they can't be "burdened with the condition" that they compensate whoever is damaged by their actions along the way.

"It just goes to show that they can blow up your house, throw you out on the streets and say, 'See you later. Deal with it,' " Leo Lech said in an interview Tuesday with The Washington Post. "What happened to us should never happen in this country, ever."

Leo Lech said he is considering appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court. Police must be forced to draw the line at some point, he said - preferably before a house is wholly gutted - and be held accountable if innocent bystanders lose everything as a result of the actions of law enforcement.

In June 2015, the standoff at Lech's suburban Denver home captivated and alarmed the public, as their house at the end of the street, one located by a baseball field complex and a park, suddenly turned into a quasi-war zone.

The suspect, Robert Jonathan Seacat, had stolen a shirt and a couple belts from a Walmart in neighboring Aurora and then fled in a Lexus, according to a police affidavit. A police officer pursued him in a high-speed chase until Seacat parked his car near a light rail station, hopped a nearby fence leading to the interstate, and then crossed five lanes of traffic on foot. He climbed the fence on the other side - and then, shortly thereafter, came upon the Lech residence.

A 9-year-old boy, John Lech's girlfriend's son, was home alone at the time, waiting for his mom to return from the grocery store, Lech said. He told police he was watching YouTube videos in his room when he heard the alarm trip, according to the affidavit. He emerged to find a man walking up the stairs, holding a gun. "He said, 'I don't want to hurt anybody. I just want to get away,' " Lech recalled. Minutes later, the boy walked out of the house unharmed.

Seacat then began searching the house for car keys. But by the time he got in the car parked in Lech's garage, police had pulled into the driveway. Seacat fired a shot at them through the garage, the affidavit says.

Thus began the 19-hour standoff.

"They proceed to destroy the house - room, by room, by room, by room," Lech said. "This is one guy with a handgun. This guy was sleeping. This guy was eating. This guy was just hanging out in this house. I mean, they proceeded to blow up the entire house."

SWAT officers attempted to enter the home on one occasion but retreated after believing they heard Seacat fire several rounds. After other tactics including tear gas, robots and police negotiations repeatedly failed, SWAT officers tried again to enter the home at 8:21 a.m. the next morning. They found him holed up in a bathroom with a stash of drugs, where he was disarmed and arrested.

When the Lech family was allowed back on the property to retrieve their belongings, they were aghast at what they found.

John Lech, his girlfriend and her son moved in with Leo Lech and his wife, who lived 30 miles away, requiring John to change jobs. The $5,000 offered by the city "was insulting," Leo Lech said.

His out-of-pocket expenses to rebuild the house cost him nearly $400,000, he said.

"This has ruined our lives," he said.

The city did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Tuesday night, but police have previously defended its actions during the standoff.

"My mission is to get that individual out unharmed and make sure my team and everyone else around including the community goes home unharmed," Greenwood Village Police Commander Dustin Varney said in 2015, KUSA reported. "Sometimes that means property gets damaged, and I am sorry for that."

State and federal courts have ruled differently in cases involving innocent homeowners caught in the crosshairs of deadly police raids, although the 10th Circuit was more persuaded by courts ruling in police's favor.

Lech's lawyers pointed to a 1991 Minnesota case in which the state Supreme Court sided with a woman whose house was damaged by police with tear gas as they sought to apprehend a suspect. In a 1980 Houston case, the Texas Supreme Court sided with a couple whose home was badly damaged as police sought to apprehend three suspects who barricaded themselves inside.

In that case, the Texas court stuck its nose up at the principle the 10th circuit stuck to so closely in its ruling: that unless a government's action is clearly labeled "eminent domain," citizens aren't entitled to compensation if the police destroy their property as a matter of business.

"[T]his court has moved beyond the earlier notion that the government's duty to pay for taking property rights is excused by labeling the taking as an exercise of police powers," the Texas court wrote at the time.

Today, the Lechs' Greenwood Village home has been rebuilt. Lech says he is now dipping into his 401(k) to afford the legal battle but intends to continue as long as he is able. He thinks he has too much bad luck to make it to the Supreme Court but believes sooner or later that someone else like him will get there.

"This can't go on in this country," he said. "There has to be a limit. There has to be accountability."

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