Douglas County Sheriff's Deputy killed, 6 others wounded in High - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo


Douglas County Sheriff's Deputy killed, 6 others wounded in Highlands Ranch

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Law enforcement and firefighters salute the body of a Douglas County Deputy killed in the line of duty on December 31, 2017. Law enforcement and firefighters salute the body of a Douglas County Deputy killed in the line of duty on December 31, 2017.

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office is mourning the death of one deputy shot Sunday morning while responding to a domestic disturbance in Highlands Ranch.

29-year-old Zackari Parrish was killed in the line of duty. The Sheriff says he is survived by his wife and two children. Parrish previously worked with the Castle Rock Police Department.

The other officers wounded are in stable condition: Deputy Mike Doyle, 28-year old, Deputy Taylor Davis, 30-year old, Deputy Jeffrey Pelle, 32-year old and Castle Rock Police Department SWAT Officer Tom O'Donnell, 41-year old.

A total of five deputies and two civilians were shot by the suspect, according to the sheriff's office. The suspect is believed to be dead. As of 9:30 a.m., the sheriff's office said there is no longer a threat to the community.

Sheriff Tony Spurlock says the officers were let into the apartment by the roommate of a man after receiving reports of a 'verbal disturbance' in the area. Officers were already in discussions with the suspect who had barricaded himself in a bedroom.

Spurlock referred to the attack as an "ambush" where all the officers were shot in rapid succession by the suspect. Deputy Parrish died at the scene from multiple gunshot wounds. Parrish's injuries were so severe he could not have survived even if rushed to the hospital immediately.

"This is a tragic day. This is a day we will feel for some time," says Sheriff Spurlock.

Spurlock didn't release the identity of the suspect, but as of Sunday afternoon his investigators believe it is a man who is well known to law enforcement due to prior activity.

As of 6:00 p.m. Douglas County Sheriffs confirmed the identity of the suspect as 37-year old Matthew Riehl. According to the Associated Press, Riehl posted a number of online rants against law enforcement in the area. 

A procession of law enforcement vehicles escorted the fallen deputy's body from Littleton Hospital just after 10 a.m.

Authorities were called out to the domestic disturbance at the Copper Canyon Apartments near County Line Road in the Highlands Ranch area.

A Code Red was issued for the area, urging residents to stay inside and avoid windows and exterior walls. An emergency shelter was also established at East Ridge Rec Center for anyone displaced from their homes.

The extreme danger during the incident was so great that the Colorado Department of Transportation briefly closed multiple roads in the area to allow officers room to work without further risk to civilians.

Colorado Senator Cory Gardner has released a statement regarding the incident:

“My heart breaks for all of those affected by the terrible tragedy in Douglas County. Jaime and I are praying for the citizens and Deputies injured at the scene, and our hearts go out to the family of the Deputy who was fatally wounded. Our law enforcement officers work tirelessly every day to keep our communities safe and today all of Colorado stands with our law enforcement community.”

President Trump also extended his condolences and support to police via Twitter Sunday afternoon. 

For circumstance such as this, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office has created a foundation where citizens can donate money to slain officers and their families.

The Fallen Officer Fund of Douglas County Foundation is a Colorado 501(c)(3), tax exempt charitable organization. The purpose of the Fallen Officer Fund is to provide assistance to Douglas County Sheriff's Office members who are killed or seriously injured in the line of duty.

The tax exempt donations benefit members of the Sheriff's Office, or their families if the member is killed in the line of duty. If a donor prefers for their donation to go to a specific member, they should indicate so by writing it on their donated check.

Donations can be mailed to:

Fallen Officers Fund

Attn: Sergeant Ron Hanavan

4000 Justice Way

Castle Rock, CO 80109

Donations can also be made through Paypal via this website: Fallen Officer Fund

Sheriff Deputy Jeffrey Pelle is recovering from surgery with his family as of Sunday afternoon. 

(The Associated Press contributed to the writing of this article.)

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