Deputy killed, six wounded in Colorado shooting

"No status on the deputies and no status on civilian injuries," one Tweet read. Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP Colorado, United States Dec 31, 2017, 04.47 PM (IST)


A sheriff's deputy was killed and six others, including four deputies, were wounded Sunday in what police called a "disturbance" in a residential suburb near Denver, Colorado.

The lone suspect was killed at the end of a two-hour standoff at an apartment complex in Highlands Ranch, 12 miles (20 kilometers) south of Denver, Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock told reporters in a televised briefing.

Spurlock said he believed the suspect, whose identity had not yet been confirmed, was someone who had had "law enforcement contact on a number of occasions ... but no criminal history." 

He said the man used a rifle and fired at least 100 rounds, catching deputies off guard. 

"They all went down almost within seconds of each other," Spurlock told reporters.

The dead deputy was identified as Zackari Parrish, 29, a married father of two young children. He had been on the force only seven months.

Spurlock, who had never lost a deputy before, described the agony of holding the hand of Parrish's wife and "seeing in her eyes her life is over."

All four wounded deputies were in stable condition, Spurlock said. He said all had been wearing protective vests.

Two civilians were also wounded, but did not suffer life-threatening injuries. Spurlock was unclear on their identities.

Deputies had responded to an early-morning call of a disturbance and, arriving at the scene, initially conducted talks with the suspect, who was barricaded in a bedroom, when he suddenly opened fire on the officers. 

"It was more of an ambush type of attack on our officers," Spurlock said.

The wounded deputies tried to pull Parrish out of the line of fire but, hampered by their own wounds, were able only to crawl to safety.

Police dispatched a heavily armed SWAT team. Officers from a total of five jurisdictions, including Colorado state police, responded. 

As the incident unfolded, the sheriff's office advised local residents to shelter in place and stay away from windows. 

"My deepest condolences to the victims of the terrible shooting in Douglas County ... and their families. We love our police and law enforcement - God Bless them all!" President Donald Trump said on Twitter.

The toll among deputies appeared to be one of the highest in a police-involved shooting since five officers in Dallas, Texas were shot to death and several others injured in July 2016 by a man angered by police shootings of black men.

The area near Sunday's shooting has been scarred by dramatic mass shootings in recent years, including the Columbine school shooting in 1999, which left 15 people dead, and the 2012 shooting at a movie theater in Aurora that claimed 12 lives. Both are within a half-hour's drive of Highlands Ranch.

Spurlock said the Aurora police chief met him at the hospital where his men had been taken to offer his support.