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VA document: Douglas County gunman had fled mental ward - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

VA document: Douglas County gunman had fled mental ward

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DENVER (AP) -

A Veterans Affairs document obtained by The Associated Press said the gunman who killed a Colorado sheriff's deputy escaped from the mental health ward of a VA hospital in Wyoming in 2014 but was located and returned.
  
The document was provided to the AP by a congressional aide on condition of anonymity because the aide was not authorized to release it.
  
The document was first reported by The Denver Post.
  
Colorado authorities say Matthew Riehl fatally shot Douglas County Deputy Zackari Parrish and wounded four other deputies on Sunday. Riehl was killed by a SWAT team.
  
The VA document said Riehl was hospitalized at the veterans medical center in Sheridan, Wyoming, in April 2014 after a psychotic episode. It said he escaped but was found and brought back.

The VA document identifies Riehl as an Army veteran who was honorably discharged.


Riehl was licensed as a lawyer for five years in Wyoming before voluntarily giving up his license in 2016.

Wyoming Bar Association executive director Sharon Wilkinson said Riehl practiced at a law firm in the small city of Rawlins and later opened his own practice.

She said he was admitted to the bar in May 2011 and voluntarily withdrew in October 2016, making him ineligible to practice law in the state. That's the same year records indicate he moved back to Colorado.

Riehl also published several social media posts critical of University of Wyoming professors. The campus police chief said officers called police in Lone Tree in November to warn them about Riehl, suggesting his rants were indicative of mental illness.
  
The Douglas County Sheriff's Office said authorities received a call Sunday from someone who said Riehl might be having a mental breakdown, but deputies found no evidence of a crime and left.

Riehl was killed Sunday after a shootout with officers and deputies, which authorities described as an "ambush." They said Riehl fired more than 100 rounds before he was killed.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
 

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