Deputy sheriff killed in Colorado shooting was dad of 2 who was ‘doing his job well‘

The officer killed Sunday in Colorado as part of a team of deputy sheriffs responding to a disturbance was a young father with “many hopes and dreams,” Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said at a news conference.

 Zack Parrish, 29, who had been with the sheriff‘s office for seven months, is survived by a wife and two young children, said Spurlock. The sheriff also said he had spent time with Parish‘s wife just prior to speaking to the media, and comforted her in her grief.

“They had many hopes and dreams, ” the sheriff said. “He was doing his job and he was doing his job well … Unfortunately, his life was taken from us this morning.” 

Ambush-style shooting

The ambush-style shooting in a residential area south of Denver also left four other deputies and two civilians with gunshot wounds. Spurlock said all were in stable condition in hospital.

The other injured officers were identified as Mike Doyle, 28; Taylor Davis, 30; Jeffrey Pelle, 32; and Tom O‘Donnell, 31. They were taken to local hospitals and were in stable condition.

The identities of the two injured civilians were not immediately disclosed, but Spurlock said he believed they are 
residents from other apartments. Their injuries were not life-threatening, he said.

 A man used a rifle to fire more than 100 rounds at the deputy sheriffs before police fatally shot him. Two civilians were also injured.

“All of them were shot very, very quickly. They all went down almost within seconds of each other, so it was more of an ambush-type of attack on our officers,” Spurlock said. “He knew we were coming and we obviously let him know that we were there.”

Police have not yet positively identified the shooting suspect. Spurlock said that if he is who they think he is, he was known to the sheriff‘s office, but did not have a criminal history.

An investigator heads to the scene of the shooting in a residential area. (David Zalubowski/Associated Press)

A few hours before the shooting, officers had been called to the same apartment complex on a noise disturbance call, but found no disturbance when they arrived and left soon after.

At about 5:15 a.m. MT, Douglas County sheriff‘s officers responded to another call about a domestic disturbance in the apartment, but when they arrived, they discovered it wasn‘t a male-female domestic situation.

They were led into the apartment by a male resident — a roommate to the suspect.

The team of officers was part of a regional task force, said Spurlock. They went in assuming the suspect could be armed, but had no specific information about a gun at that time.

“Everyone has a gun,” said Spurlock. “This is Colorado. We anticipate when we respond to people that they have guns.”

The suspect was barricaded in a bedroom, Spurlock said, and after officers tried to have a conversation with the suspect, calling out questions, he shot all five officers in quick succession. 

“They were able to crawl to safety. [Zack] was not conscious, and they weren‘t able to talk to him or get him out,” said Spurlock. “The suspect continued shooting at the officers over Zack.”

Parrish was removed about 90 minutes later, after more officers arrived on the scene. The gunman was shot a few minutes later. Spurlock didn‘t say when either man died.

A SWAT team was called to the scene after shots were fired at officers during an investigation into a domestic disturbance at an apartment complex. (CBC)

“I don‘t want to speak on behalf of coroner, but I did speak to the emergency room surgeon,” he said. “The physician said he had not ability to survive the hits. With the locations he was hit, he was not able to survive.”

A has been set up to help Parrish‘s family. Only a few hours after the officer‘s name was released, tens of thousands of dollars had been raised toward a goal of $100,000 US.

The Go Fund Me page characterized Parrish as “a true God fearing man, who was a role model, father, husband, and public servant.

“After an early career in sales, Zack fulfilled his dream of becoming a law enforcement officer,” said the page set up by Tyler Scott, noting that Parrish served with the Castle Rock Police Department before accepting a position with the Douglas County Sheriff Office.

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