A gunman in Denver, Colorado used a rifle to fire at least 100 rounds in an “ambush-style attack” at police who were responding to a disturbance. The suspect, Iraq veteran Matthew Riehl, shot and killed Sheriff Deputy Zackari Parrish, 29, and injured four other officers and two civilians. The gunman used a rifle and fired at least 100 rounds. The gunman, a 37-year-old former soldier and lawyer, was killed in a shootout with SWAT officers.
Douglas County Deputies were called to the apartment in the Copper Canyon Apartment Complex at 3 a.m. on a report of a verbal disturbance between two males. Riehl’s roommate told the four officers that arrived that the suspect was acting bizarre and might be having a mental breakdown. Deputies cleared the scene at 3:40 a.m. and left because no crime had been committed. Officers were called back to the scene at 5:14 a.m. on a domestic disturbance call and all four officers were there by 5:35 a.m. Riehl’s roommate returned to the apartment, gave deputies a key and permission to enter the apartment but left before the gunman opened fire at 5:56 a.m.
After the officers entered the suspect’s apartment, they found that he had barricaded himself inside a bedroom. The officers talked with Riehl through the door and determined it to be a mental health call. In the officers body cam footage Parrish is heard saying “It’s deputy Parrish, DougCo Sheriff’s Office.” “Hey, Matt, it’s Zack. Yes we can help you. I’m with the sheriff’s office. Right here man. We can talk out here. I just want to make sure you’re OK.” Deputies talked to Riehl and tried to help him until 5:35 a.m. Parrish is then heard “He’s going through a manic episode,” “We’re going to take him for an M1.” M1 stands for a mental health hold.
Between 5:35 a.m. and 5:57 a.m. deputies were developing a plan to get medical and mental health aid to Riehl, until he opened fire. All the officers were wearing bulletproof vests but were struck in unprotected parts of their bodies. During a news conference, Sheriff Tony Spurlock said all four officers went down within seconds of each other. Deputy Zackari Parrish was shot several times and the wounded officers tried to pull him out but were unable to because of their injuries. The wounded deputies then crawled away while other officers responded to the shots fired call.
SWAT team members entered the apartment at 7:30 a.m. and exchanged gunfire with the gunman. The gunman was killed and another officer was wounded by the suspect. Riehl’s roommate was not injured and has been cooperating with investigators. The injured deputies are Michael Doyle, 28; Taylor Davis, 30; and Jeff Pelle, 32. Castle Rock police officer Thomas O’Donnell, 41, was also wounded. All were listed in stable condition at area hospitals. Two people in adjacent apartments were also wounded, but their injuries were not life-threatening.
During the press conference, Sheriff Spurlock said Riehl was an Iraq war veteran that at one time worked as a lawyer in Rawlins, Wyoming. He had no criminal history but was well known to law enforcement. Spurlock said Riehl has posted a number of anti-law-enforcement videos on YouTube and other social media. Deputy Parrish, who had been a deputy for about 7 months, was rushed to the Littleton hospital but he had suffered mortal wounds. A motorcade of officers from various police agencies accompanied the fallen officer from the hospital to the coroner’s office. Parrish is survived by a wife and two young daughters.