By Tom Mustin

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Authorities in Douglas County are investigating after a deputy shot a man who apparently threatened him with a rifle.

Flashing lights and police tape tell the story of a disturbing officer-involved shooting.

“Very disturbed. When you see red tape and yellow tape, you know something is going on,” said Diane Hokanson.

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(credit: CBS)

Around 6:45 p.m. Friday, a Douglas County deputy saw what appeared to be a stranded motorist in a white GMC SUV near County Line Road and Santa Fe Drive. He got out of his cruiser to help.

“As he approached the vehicle, the occupant of the vehicle got out of the vehicle with a rifle and confronted the deputy,” said Cmdr. Trent Cooper with the Littleton Police Department.

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(credit: CBS)

Cooper says the weapon was a military style semi-automatic rifle. The deputy gave verbal commands to drop the weapon, which were ignored. Fearing for his life the officer fired, striking the suspect in the arm.

“He was essentially attacked and felt his life was in danger and responded the way he was trained to do,” said Cooper.

The man was taken to the hospital, his rifle clearly seen on the ground.

Littleton police are not releasing the suspect’s name.

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(credit: CBS)

Renne Wing saw the drama unfold from her home.

“I watched it for a while outside my door. When I went to bed about 12:30 (a.m.) I looked out and they were still out there,” she told CBS4’s Tom Mustin.

She called the incident “disturbing” but she believes the deputy’s actions were justified.

“The policemen are out there to protect all of us. They have to protect themselves as well,” Wing said.

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“It just demonstrates that law enforcement can be dangerous at any time,” said Cooper.

The suspect is in stable condition in a local hospital. When he is released he’ll be charged with first-degree assault on a police officer.

Tom Mustin is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor. He has been with CBS4 since 2002, and is always looking for great story ideas. Connect with Tom on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @TomCBS4.

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