A man who had been on the radar of local cops fatally shot a lawman and wounded four others during an ambush in suburban Denver on Sunday, authorities said.
Castle Rock police and Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies showed up at the Copper Canyon Apartments at 5:14 a.m. in Highlands Ranch to answer a domestic disturbance when the killer opened fire, officials said.
Sheriff’s Deputy Zachary Parish, a 29-year-old with a wife and two young kids, was killed, Sheriff Tony Spurlock said.
“It was more of an ambush,” Spurlock said. The killer “knew we were coming, and we obviously let him know that we were there.”
After the cops were hit and retreated, the suspect kept firing — squeezing off 100 rounds — before he was eventually brought down, Spurlock said.
The gunman wasn’t immediately identified, but Spurlock said local authorities “were familiar” with him.
Deputies had been there four hours earlier for a noise complaint.
The mortally wounded Parish was rushed to Littleton Adventist Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, officials said.
A long line of black-and-white squad cars and motorcycles from police agencies around the region escorted the slain deputy’s body away from Littleton Adventist.
Firefighters stood on top of their truck on a nearby freeway overpass and saluted the fallen deputy as the procession passed below.
One of the wounded lawmen — Jeff Pelle — is the son of Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle, the lawman said.
“Earlier this morning, our son, Douglas County sheriff’s deputy, Jeff Pelle, was shot during the Copper Canyon shooting. Jeff underwent surgery as a result of his injuries, and is recovering,” according to a statement by Sheriff Joe Pelle.
“We are currently with our son and his wife. He is in good spirits considering the gravity and severity of what occurred earlier this morning.”
“Our hearts ache for all those involved, and we are not only praying for Jeff’s recovery,” Sheriff Pelle continued, “but for the recovery of everyone involved, and for the family of the fallen deputy.”
Steven Silknitter, who lives in the Copper Canyon Apartments with his fiancee, described a scary, chaotic scene.
“I woke her up, and then she heard gunfire. I told her to stay inside,” Silknitter told the Denver Post, recalling that he lived in Aurora in 2012 not far from the infamous movie theater shooting.
“Where do you move to? It’s (gun violence) everywhere.”
President Trump offered his condolences.
“We love our police and law enforcement,” Trump tweeted. “God Bless them all!”
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner said that “all of Colorado stands with our law enforcement community.”
“My heart breaks for all of those affected by the terrible tragedy in Douglas County,” according to a statement from Gardner. “Jaime and I are praying for the citizens and deputies injured at the scene, and our hearts go out to the family of the deputy who was fatally wounded.”