| Crime |

8 Suspects, 3 Cops Killed in 42 Days During 14 CO Officer-Involved Shootings

From the scene of a police shooting in Aurora on Saturday.
From the scene of a police shooting in Aurora on Saturday.
Courtesy of Denver7
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Counting the New Year's Eve gun battle that killed Douglas County Deputy Zackari Parrish, there have been fourteen officer-involved shootings along Colorado's Front Range over a span of 42 days. This total includes a traffic stop on Saturday, February 10, in Aurora during which an adult male was killed by a member or members of the Aurora Police Department — the fifth OIS in less than a week. During these incidents, eight suspects and three officers were killed and at least eleven injuries took place involving law enforcers and others.

The number of officer-involved shootings during a month-and-a-half period is unprecedented in recent memory. For context, note that there were twelve officer-involved shootings in Denver during all of 2016, during which six people were killed — and that body count was considered absolutely shocking in many quarters.

Below are accounts of all fourteen events as described in releases from the assorted law enforcement agencies involved.

December 31, 2017
Source: Douglas County Sheriff's Office

Douglas County Dispatch initially received the report of a "verbal disturbance" call at the location at approximately 3:00 a.m. involving two males. Both males were at the apartment, one male said the suspect was acting bizarre and might be having a mental breakdown. Deputies cleared the scene at 3:44 a.m., no crime had been committed at that time. Deputies were called back to the scene at 5:14 a.m. and the first officer arrived on scene at 5:17 a.m. Three additional officers also arrived on scene, the last one arriving at 5:35 a.m. One male had left the scene prior to officer’s arrival. The male returned to the scene and gave officers a key and permission to enter the apartment, but then left the scene prior to the shooting. At 5:56 a.m., four officers were hit by rifle rounds from the suspect’s bedroom. Three of the deputies were able to get to safety, however, the fourth officer, Deputy Zackari Parrish, was not able to retreat. Due to the amount of gunfire along with sustained injuries, the three injured deputies were not able to get to Parrish for an immediate rescue.

SWAT made entry into the apartment at approximately 7:30 a.m., shots were exchanged between the suspect [Matthew Riehl] and SWAT, resulting in the suspect’s death. Officer Tom O’Donnell was also shot and injured by the suspect at this time. It is believed, at this time, that the suspect shot more than 100 rounds from a rifle.

January 11, 2018
Source: Thornton Police Department

On 01-11-2018, at about 1:34 pm, an officer advised that they had a Lo-Jack activation on a stolen vehicle in the area of the 9900 Block of N. Grant Street. Officers located the stolen vehicle in the Thornton Town Center parking lot located at 10001 N. Grant Street. The suspect fled the parking lot and traveled south bound on Grant Street at a high rate of speed. The driver lost control of the vehicle, crashing into the median and a hedge row in the intersection of E. 98th Avenue and N. Grant Street. The suspect fled the vehicle, at which time the officer engaged in a foot pursuit. During the foot pursuit, there was an encounter with the suspect, and the officer discharged his weapon, striking the suspect in the torso. The suspect’s injuries are non-life threatening. The suspect was transported to a local hospital.

Erick Michael Deleon after being pursued by Arvada police.
Erick Michael Deleon after being pursued by Arvada police.

January 14, 2018
Source: Arvada Police Department

On January 14, Arvada Police contacted [suspect Erick Michael] Deleon in a parking lot in the 5000 block of Kipling after receiving a suspicious person report. Police cleared him using identification he provided and learned he had a felony domestic violence/stalking warrant from Denver, and was considered "armed and dangerous."

Before police could arrest Deleon, he fled in his car. He crashed the vehicle on the south side of the Target parking lot, then fled on foot. Deleon was located walking southbound west of Kipling near the I-70 frontage road. He was carrying a handgun when confronted by police.

Deleon raised the weapon in the direction of Arvada Officers. An Officer fired their weapon striking the suspect. Deleon then turned his weapon on himself and shot himself in the head. Medical personal tended to Deleon, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Jefferson County Coroner concluded that Deleon, age 25, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

January 16, 2018
Source: Adams County Sheriff's Office

At 9:13 p.m. on January 16th, 2018, Adams County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Pinetree Village Apartments at 7520 Broadway on a call of a disturbance. A deputy arrived on scene and encountered the suspect.

The Deputy encountered a male party in the hallway who became aggressive. After multiple attempts to talk to the party, a fight ensued. The deputy discharged his taser and eventually his service weapon. The suspect was transported to local hospital, where he died from his injuries. The Deputy was later transported to the hospital due to a head injury.

January 21, 2018
Source: Adams County Sheriff's Office

AT 12:34 a.m., Adams County Sheriff's Deputies responded to the 5200 block of Riverdale Way on a call of a car prowler. Deputies found a stolen vehicle with two occupants. Suspects started to ram their stolen vehicle into our marked patrol unit multiple times.

The deputy was struck by the vehicle after exiting his vehicle. Deputies fired their service weapons. Suspects fled in the stolen vehicle and we pursued the vehicle. The suspect wrecked the vehicle near the Thornton Police Department. The suspect attempted to flee on foot and was apprehended. The second suspect was taken into custody after a short foot pursuit. The suspect was transported to a local hospital with a gunshot wound. The deputy was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

January 22, 2018
Source: Pueblo Police Department

On January 22, 2018 at approximately 6:02 p.m. Pueblo Police received a call from a female stating she and her children were barricaded inside her home as her ex [Joe F. Delira-Alires] was outside of her residence in the 2600 blk. of E. 9th armed with a gun firing shots into the air.

As officers arrived on scene they indicated multiple rapid-fire shots being fired. The adult male suspect was able to get into his SUV and flee the scene. Officers attempted to stop the vehicle, but he disregarded with a pursuit ensuing. Stop Sticks were deployed near E. 4th and Hudson in an attempt to stop the suspect vehicle that was continuing to elude and drive recklessly at a high rate of speed. As the pursuit approached the area of W. 13th and Craig St., an officer was able to successfully utilize a Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT) maneuver on the suspect SUV to safely disable the vehicle.

The suspect then ran from the SUV on foot armed with a handgun. As the suspect fled, he fired multiple rounds at officers. After chasing the suspect for nearly one block several officers engaged the suspect with lethal force. The suspect was provided emergency medical assistance in an attempt to save his life until fire/rescue arrived on scene and determined he was deceased.

No officers were shot during this dangerous incident.

Deputy Heath Gumm, as seen in a family photo.
Deputy Heath Gumm, as seen in a family photo.
Adams County Sheriff's Office

January 24, 2018
Source: Adams County Sheriff's Office

At 1858 hours on January 24, deputies responded to an assault in progress in the area of the 8700 block of Dawson Street.

Once on scene, deputies found that the suspect had fled. Deputies started to search the area for suspect and/or suspects.

Deputies contacted a male [Dreion Dearing] in that area that matched one of the suspect's descriptions. The suspect ran from deputies, leading them behind a house in that area. When deputies caught up to the male, the male pulled a handgun and started to shoot at our deputies, striking one of the deputies in the chest. Suspect took off on foot, later being located and taken into custody.

It is with incredible sadness that we report that our deputy [Heath Gumm] was transported and pronounced dead at the hospital.
January 26, 2018
Source: Denver Police Department

9:51 p.m.: Alert: DPD officer-involved shooting in the 4500 block of N Paris St. Suspect transported to hospital; condition unknown. No officers transported.

10:59 p.m.: DPD provides update on officer-involved shooting in the 4500 block of Paris Street.

January 31, 2018
Source: Arvada Police Department

On the evening of January 31 at approximately 7:30 p.m., officers were dispatched to a domestic situation in the 7300 block of 82nd Way. Officers learned that [suspect Adrian] Valdez had violated a restraining order in the domestic. He also had a felony warrant out of Pueblo and a Denver County traffic warrant. Valdez fled before officers arrived.

Officers were told that Valdez was armed.

At approximately 8:50 p.m., officers were dispatched to a separate suspicious person call in a nearby apartment complex (6900 block of W. 84th Way). The description of that person was similar to the description given to officers in reference to Valdez from the earlier domestic call.

A K9 was called in to assist responding officers. Officers and the K9 unit arrived on scene where they located a male (later identified positively by the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office as Valdez) in an enclosed area of the apartment complex. Officers could see he was armed with a knife and gave several commands for him to drop the weapon. Valdez instead came at the officers and K9 with the knife and officers shot him.

The late Micah Flick, who served as a detective with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.
The late Micah Flick, who served as a detective with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.
El Paso County Sheriff's Office

February 5, 2018
Source: Colorado Springs Police Department

On February 5, 2018, members of the B.A.T.T.L.E. (Beat Auto Theft Through Law Enforcement) task force, comprised of detectives from the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD), El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO), and the Colorado State Patrol (CSP), located a vehicle previously reported stolen from Colorado Springs. The vehicle was surveilled to the 4200 block of Galley Road where detectives observed the suspect exit the vehicle. To alleviate the possibility of a vehicle pursuit or entry into nearby apartments, B.A.T.T.L.E. task force detectives developed a plan to arrest the suspect while the suspect walked through an apartment complex parking lot.

At approximately 3:55 PM, the detectives made contact with the suspect and a struggle ensued. The suspect then drew a handgun and began firing. Three task force detectives then returned gunfire. EPSO Detective Micah Lee Flick was fatally shot, while two additional EPSO detectives and one CSPD detective were wounded by gunfire. A semi-automatic handgun belonging to the suspect was recovered from the scene of the incident.

The CSPD detective shot in the incident is identified as Marcus Yanez. Detective Yanez has been employed by the Colorado Springs Police Department since October 2007. Detective Yanez was treated and released from a local hospital.

The suspect was also fatally shot and died at the scene of the incident. An autopsy was completed by the El Paso County Coroner’s Office on February 6, 2018. The suspect was positively identified as 19 year old Manuel Zetina, a resident of Colorado Springs.

An adult male civilian walking in the area was also shot and wounded as a result of gunfire. He is undergoing treatment at an area hospital.

February 6, 2018
Source: Denver Police Department

7:17 p.m.: #BREAKING: #DPD in the 1800 block of S. Alcott on an officer-involved shooting. No officers injured. Suspect transported to the hospital, condition unknown. PIO en route.

8:21 p.m.: Denver Police Interview: Officer-Involved Shooting, 1800 block of Alcott Street

Shot and killed during the incident was Alex Duran, 29.

February 7, 2018
Source: Brighton Police Department

On Wednesday, February 7th, at about 10:24 p.m. Brighton officers responded to a report of a female being chased by a male near 744 Mockingbird St. in Brighton. Officers arrived on scene and identified the female and located the male. During the investigation, a struggle ensued between the suspect and the officer. During the struggle, the suspect was shot by an officer. The suspect was transported to the hospital. No officers were injured during the incident. The Adams County Critical Incident team responded to the scene and continue to investigate the case at this time. All names are being withheld pending further investigation.

February 9, 2018
Source: Colorado Springs Police Department

6:45 p.m.: Lt Black responding to the 2400 block of North Cascade Ave. OIS, no officers injured.

February 10, 2018
Source: Aurora Police Department

On February 10, 2018 at approximately 11:28 p.m., officers conducted a traffic stop near the intersection of East Smoky Hill Road and South Mobile Way. Officers at the scene contacted an adult male subject in the vehicle. A short time later, an officer fired his weapon at the subject. Officers on scene immediately rendered aid to the subject who was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced deceased. A weapon was located in the subject's vehicle.

There were no injuries to the officers involved.

Detectives and investigators from the Major Crimes/Homicide Unit and Crime Scene Investigations Unit responded to the scene and took over the investigation into this case. This is an active an ongoing investigation. As is standard with the occurrence of an officer-involved shooting, the Officer has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

Anyone with information to this incident is asked to contact Detective Todd Fredericksen at 303-739-6106.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.