Five law enforcement officers were shot, one fatally, after responding to a domestic disturbance call at an apartment complex south of Denver on Sunday morning, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said.
Two civilians were also shot but sustained non-life-threatening injuries. The suspect, identified by authorities as 37-year-old Matthew Riehl, was killed by officers at the scene.
Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock identified the deceased deputy as 29-year-old Zackari Parrish, a seven-month veteran of the force who is survived by his wife and two children.
“Zach was a good kid. Smiley kid. He was eager to work and eager to serve. His wife told me today he loved this job more than any job he ever had,” Spurlock said at a press conference.
“He was doing his job well, and his life was taken from us this morning.”
Spurlock said the suspect was “familiar” to local law enforcement officials, although he had no criminal history. He used a rifle to carry out an “ambush-type attack” against officers at the Copper Canyon Apartments in Highlands Ranch, a suburb roughly 13 miles south of Denver.
“The suspect was just making a ton of noise and annoying everyone around him,” Spurlock said.
Riehl shared the apartment with a male roommate who was uninjured and is cooperating with authorities. Officers were invited inside the apartment upon their arrival, but gunfire began shortly afterward and lasted nearly two hours.
Officers attempted to engage the suspect in a dialogue before fatally shooting him, Spurlock said. Well over 100 rounds were fired during the incident, mainly by the suspect.
The injured officers, all in stable condition, are Deputy Mike Doyle, 28, Deputy Taylor Davis, 30 and Deputy Jeffrey Pelle, from Douglas County. Tom O’Donnell, 41, works for the nearby Castle Rock Police Department.
Vira Cover, 50, was still sleeping when her fiance called around 6:30 a.m. and told her to stay inside because of an active shooter in their apartment complex.
“About five minutes later, I heard a bunch of gunshots,” Cover told HuffPost. “I’m in shock. Highlands Ranch is one of the safest places in the Denver metro area.”
Steven Silknitter, Cover’s fiance, had been working about 30 minutes away when he first heard about the shooting in Copper Canyon Apartments. He immediately headed home, frantically calling Cover to let her know what was happening. He was about a mile away from the complex when police stopped him from driving any farther.
“I could hear 15 to 20 gunshots after I got off the phone with her,” Silknitter told HuffPost. “It was just unbelievable. ... Next thing I know, there’s probably 20 or 30 different police cars, fire trucks, ambulances just all over the place.”
This is the second mass shooting in five years to hit close to home for Silknitter. He lived in Aurora during the 2012 shooting in a movie theater there in which 12 people were killed and scores injured.
“I’m just kind of at a loss for words,” Silknitter said. “It’s like, where do you go from here? Where do you move that you don’t have to worry about getting shot?”
Authorities asked people to avoid the area as the incident unfolded, setting up an emergency center for anyone who had been displaced from their home.
President Donald Trump offered his “deepest condolences” to the victims of the shooting.
A GoFundMe page set up for Parrish’s family raised over $30,000 out of a $100,000 goal in its first hour.
Additionally, the sheriff’s office has a Fallen Officer Fund to provide assistance for its members who are killed or seriously injured in the line of duty