A manhunt continues at this writing in the fatal shooting of Adams County Deputy Heath Gumm while he was on duty in Thornton last night, January 24. Two suspects are being sought in the second slaying of a metro-area law enforcer in 25 days, and a fundraiser for Gumm's family has already been launched.
According to the Adams County Sheriff's Office, the incident began at 6:58 p.m. on Wednesday, when ACSO deputies, including Gumm, responded to a report of an assault in progress.
The location: on or near the 8700 block of Dawson Street.
Shortly after their arrival, the sheriff's office account continues, deputies contacted a male who matched a suspect description.
At that point, the suspect ran from the deputies and headed behind a house in the area. The deputies gave chase, and when they caught up with the suspect, he allegedly produced a handgun and opened fire.
One of the deputies, later identified as Gumm, was struck in the chest.
Gumm was transported to Denver Health Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. He was 32 years old and married. He joined the Adams County Sheriff's Office in 2013.
Local TV stations broke into regularly scheduled programming to cover the shooting scene. Cameras were also on hand as members of the public and fellow officers gathered on Speer Boulevard near Denver Health and stood in tribute to the deputy as a processional carried his body back to Adams County.
Other salutes poured in from officials and area law enforcement agencies still reeling in the wake of a December 31 shooting that took the life of Douglas County Deputy Zackari Parrish. Here are several examples:
Governor John Hickenlooper: "Tonight we watched as a community was on edge and a sheriff’s deputy was shot while responding to a call in Adams County. We are deeply saddened to learn that the deputy has died from injuries sustained in the shooting. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Adams County Sheriff’s Office and the family and friends of the deputy killed.The investigation is ongoing, and authorities continue to work to restore calm to the area."
Denver Police Department: "Our sincere condolences and prayers to the fallen @AdamsCoSheriff deputy’s loved ones and law enforcement family."
Aurora Police K9 Unit: "Our thoughts and prayers are with our partners in Adams County. Many of our officers and our K9 teams are assisting in searching for the suspect. Our thoughts are with the injured Deputy, friends and family."
Lakewood Police Department: "Police Officers, Agents, Deputies, Troopers, whatever the title — we train together, serve together, support each other and work hard to serve our communities and keep them safe. Incidents like this are a tragedy for all of us. We stand with @AdamsCoSheriff and their families."
The ACSO also weighed in. "The entire Sheriff's Office is praying for the wife and family of our fallen deputy," the statement allows. "Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as this is a very difficult time for everyone."
The profile picture on the ACSO Facebook page has been changed to a badge with a black stripe across it.
In the meantime, Gumm's colleagues were able to arrest the man thought to be the shooter, who had fled on foot after the deputy was struck. He has not yet been identified, and potential charges are pending.
However, the sheriff's office points out that two additional suspects are being sought. Witnesses described them as light-skinned black males or dark-skinned Hispanic males.
As the search was ongoing, the Colorado Police Officers Foundation created a fundraising page for Gumm. Its introduction points out that "a special PayPal account of the Colorado FOP’s Police Foundation has been set up exclusively for donations to the family of Deputy Gumm. All donations will go directly to the family. We will not withhold any handling fees."
Click for more details about the fundraiser for Deputy Gumm, whose page has been visited more than 40,000 times since it went online.
Anyone with information about the shooting or suspects at large is encouraged to call 720-322-1313.
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.