DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Dozens of sleeping residents in the Copper Canyon Apartment Homes complex were awoken New Year’s Eve, to the sound of gunfire. A standoff, which would last almost two hours, would take the life of a deputy, and send six others to the hospital.
The gunman was also killed.
It happened at an apartment complex in the Highlands Ranch area on Sunday.
Douglas County Deputy Zackari Parrish would be killed, before SWAT team members could respond to the scene.
“I woke up to three loud muffled, boom-boom-booms,” said Trever Renken, a resident who filmed the final shootout between the suspect and law enforcement. “Less than 10-to-15 minutes later, (I heard) boom-boom-boom-boom again.”
In Renken’s video, SWAT team members were seen approaching the suspect’s apartment by the ground, and from a ladder. The video also caught a moment rapid-gunfire was heard.
“It was just a ton of gun fire,” Renken said. “It definitely sounded like they were using a semi-automatic of some sort.”
“I heard what appeared to be a couple of gunshots, and then I heard a bunch of sirens going off from my house,” said Joe Geneva, a resident.
Twelve-year-old Izzy was woken up by her mother.
“When my mom woke me up to tell me to stay away from the windows I got scared because that never happens. And then I thought well we’ll be okay because they always keep us safe,” Izzy said.
Moments later, the suspect, Matthew Riehl was neutralized.
Izzy and her mom came to pay respects as the procession escorting the body of Zachari Parrish passed by along C-470 near Colorado.
“It’s pretty sad that somebody took an officer’s life today… I hate hearing that man, I just hate it,” said Nick Frydrychowski.
Nick and his wife heard the news and came right away. Standing on the bed of his truck he hoisted an American flag.
“This hit close to home, I live right here, so I wanted to be a part of it,” he said.
It’s a quiet community, the kind where these things aren’t supposed to happen.
“I’m devastated that it happens anywhere, let alone in our neighborhood; devastating news,” said Shari Verseman.
Those CBS4 spoke with said they were saddened for the injuries and loss the gunman caused. However, they said they had a new respect for the law enforcement that watches out for them.
“I think that the men and women that put their lives in the line for this type of stuff, they really deserve gratitude for what they do.” Geneva said.
The community showed it’s ready to come together not only for each other, but especially for those who risk so much to keep us safe.
“I’m sorry this happened and I know that it’s hard but we are all here for you and it will get better along the way,” 12-year-old Izzy said.
“All Douglas County is in our thoughts and prayers and we’re here for you as a community,” said Michele Spencer.
“We’ll be okay, because (police) always keep us safe.” Spencer said.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.