COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — The El Paso County Sheriff's Office and the Colorado Springs Police Department say they are no longer searching for a suspect that was wanted in connection with a shooting that claimed the life of a deputy on Sunday.
At approximately 5:07 p.m., the shooting happened in the 500 block of Ponderosa Drive in Security.
Sheriff Bill Elder told reporters that two deputies and an officer with the Fountain Police Department arrived at the scene and were immediately met with gunfire.
The officers returned fire and 39-year-old Deputy Andrew Peery was struck in the exchange. Despite life-saving measures, Deputy Peery later died of his injuries.
While on the scene, officers located a deceased woman in the 500 block of Ponderosa Drive.
She was later identified as 26-year-old Alex Paz.
Witnesses in the area weighed in on what they saw the evening of the shooting.
"I saw two cop cars there and then I went to go look 20 minutes later and there was SWAT and everything down there," said Adrian Burciaga, a neighbor.
Terry Hampton, another neighbor said he witnessed the deputy trying to pull Peery to safety after he was shot.
"After he (Peery) got shot and hit the ground, the guy (Deputy) got behind the tree, and then when the guy (Paz) went in, he (Deputy) went over and grabbed the guy (Peery) and tried to pull him back over to where he was at," said Hampton.
Hampton also said that this incident was unusual in the neighborhood.
"We've had shootings here before, we've had drive-by's on houses, but that was a long time ago, nothing like this," said Hampton.
Finding the right words to describe the tragedy that took place yesterday is impossible. As the chief of police and as a member of this community, my heart breaks for the two families who have lost loved ones and for the children who have lost a parent. From the community members who called for help, to the deputies, officers, and investigators who responded to the shooting, we are all left incredibly shaken. These tragedies are things I wish did not happen in our community; in the place all of us call home. When these types of horrific acts happen, there is nothing we can do to fully rebuild what was lost or to replace those who are no longer with us.
To families grieving the loss of a loved one this morning, please accept my heartfelt condolences on behalf of the Colorado Springs Police Department.
To our brothers and sisters at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, know the women and men of CSPD stand beside you during this difficult time.
“Andrew was a highly dedicated, highly decorated SWAT operator for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office," Elder said.
Deputy Peery had been with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office since 2016.
"My thoughts and condolences are with the family and friends of Deputy Peery and all our neighbors in law enforcement who put their lives at risk to serve others," Governor Jared Polis said in a statement Sunday evening.
Peery is survived by his wife Megan and two children. A law enforcement procession accompanied Deputy Peery's body to the El Paso County Coroner's Office. A memorial will be set up at the El Paso County Sheriff's Office on Vermijo Ave today.
For those who would like to help, donations can be made to Deputy Peery's family through Chase Bank under the Hugh Martin Fallen Officers Fund with Andrew Peery in the memo line.
Donations can be mailed to this address.
Hugh Martin & Fallen Officer Foundation
Attn: Robert Johnson, CPA Bradshaw & Associates PLLC
1980 Dominion Way, Suite 100 Colorado Springs, CO 80918
Officials say there are no other official accounts or fundraisers.
Donations can be made to the family of Fallen Deputy Andrew Peery through Chase Bank under the "Hugh Martin Fallen Officers Fund" with Andrew Peery on memo line.— EPCSheriff (@EPCSheriff) August 8, 2022
There are no other officially sanctioned accounts or fundraisers. https://t.co/RxAEhMW1KI
The suspect was later identified as 33-year-old John Paz. The El Paso County Sheriff's Office says the scene is now secure and there is no longer a threat to the public.
News5 has since learned that John Paz, was an employee of The United States Air Force Academy. Addressed in a statement from Dean Miller this afternoon.
The U.S. Air Force Academy expresses our deepest sadness at the loss of life, to include El Paso County Sherriff's Deputy Andrew Peery on Sunday. Our condolences go out to all the friends and family affected by Sunday's incident. We can confirm that suspect John Paolo Paz was employed at the 94th Flying Training Squadron at the U.S. Air Force Academy Airfield. The Colorado Springs Police Department is the lead for this investigation, and we would refer you to them at 719-444-7000.
Dean J. Miller
A search warrant for this residence was obtained and the CSPD Tactical Enforcement Unit entered the home and found Paz deceased inside with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The El Paso County Coroner's Office will announce the official cause and manner of death for all three individuals.
The deaths of Deputy Peery and the woman are being investigated as homicides committed by Paz.
The Colorado Springs Police Department is the lead investigative agency for the officer-involved shooting along with investigative responsibilities for the homicide investigations of Deputy Peery and the woman.
The deputy who fired their weapon has been placed on administrative leave, per department policies.
If you have any information regarding this investigation, please contact the Colorado Springs Police Department at (719) 444-7000.
If you wish to remain anonymous, you may call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at (719) 634-7867 or (800) 222-8477.
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