One dead and six injured in Douglas County shooting

Deputy killed in “ambush-style shooting” with three other deputies, one officer, and two civilians injured.



Police were responding to a domestic disturbance at about 05:00 (12:00 GMT) at an apartment south of Denver

Sunday, December 31, deputies from Douglas County responded to a disturbance at apartments in Highlands Ranch, an area south of Denver, where they were shot at in an “ambush-style” attack.

Deputies were called to the apartments shortly after 5 a.m. in response to a disturbance after already having been called there roughly an hour earlier for a “verbal disturbance”. Four deputies who arrived within minutes of each other went inside after being given a key by the suspect’s roommate, who had left the apartment soon after, according to the sheriff’s office.

The deputies were shot minutes after entering while the gunman barricaded himself in a bedroom firing more than one hundred rounds.  

Deputy Zackari Parrish was shot multiple times. The other officers were able to crawl to safety as bullets continued to rain on them, but they were unable to pull Parrish out because of their injuries, Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said.

“I do know that all of them were shot very, very quickly,” Spurlock said at a news conference. “And they all went down almost within seconds of each other . . . He knew we were coming. We obviously let him know that we were there to investigate a disturbance.”

The wounded deputies were forced into retreat as a SWAT team entered the apartment at about 7:30 AM, according to Fox News. An exchange of gunfire left the gunman dead and another officer injured.

The suspect was identified as Matthew Riehl, 37, a military veteran who fought briefly in Iraq and was honorably discharged in 2012, according to The Washington Post.

Riehl was found dead at the scene of the shooting after being fatally shot himself.

Three deputies, one officer, and two civilians were reported to be injured by the gunfire while one deputy was killed.

The wounded officers were Deputies Mike Doyle, 28, Taylor Davis, 30, Jeffrey Pelle, 32, and Castle Rock police officer Tom O’Donnell, 41, were said to be in stable condition. The civilians had suffered non-life threatening injuries, Spurlock said.

Deputy Parrish, 29, was identified as the fallen officer, leaving behind a wife and two children. Spurlock said to reporters at The Guardian that Parrish was “a good kid” who was eager to work. He had been a deputy for the Douglas County Sheriff’s office for seven months.

“I can’t tell you how difficult it is for a leader to sit down with a spouse of an officer who was killed in the line of duty,” Spurlock said to Fox News. “They had many hopes and dreams. He was doing his job and he was doing his job well.”

President Donald Trump tweeted out his sympathy for the victims and their families.






Gov. John Hickenlooper also commented his sorrows., “We can only imagine the depth of grief they are experiencing. We also hope for a speedy recovery for the Douglas County deputies and the Castle Rock police officer injured in the incident, as well as the residents who also were affected.”

He added, “The call to protect and serve too often leads to this ultimate sacrifice. We are grateful for the service of Deputy Parrish, his fellow deputies, and that of the Castle Rock police officer.  We pray for their and their families’ strength and resolve in the days and months ahead.”