BRIGHTON, Colo. (CBS4) – The suspected gunman in the slaying of Deputy Heath Gumm has been identified, but the search for two more suspects continues in Adams County.

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Deputy Heath Gumm, in a photo posted on Facebook by the Adams County Sheriff’s Office. (credit: Adams County)

Dreion Dearing, 22, was arrested overnight following the shooting, which took place near East 88th Avenue and Washington Street in the Thornton area.

RELATED: Suspect In Deputy Killing Has Previous Record

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Police said Gumm, 31, was shot Wednesday sometime after 7 p.m. when he confronted a man suspected of an assault. The suspected gunman was arrested and taken into custody sometime after that.

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Adams County Sheriff Michael McIntosh said the Gumm was wearing a vest when he was shot, “He was wearing a vest. I’m wearing a vest… and there are places that are not protected by the vest and sometimes we see that in these shootings.”

On Thursday, police were conducting an extensive search for two other suspects in the case that were involved in the altercation before the shooting. Investigators used drones to help narrow their search area.

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office tweeted “We continue to search for suspects and process crime scenes in the area. Please be patient with us as we continue to investigate.”

Numerous schools in Adams County were closed Thursday because of the police activity.

The outpouring of support for Gumm was immediate following the news of his death. Law enforcement agencies raced to Denver Health Medical Center to provide a procession as the deputy’s body was moved to Adams County.

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Brighton police officers wear a black ribbon over their badge and fight back tears as the hearse carrying Deputy Heath Gumm arrived at the Adams County Coroner’s office. (credit: John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Firefighters put up American flags and strangers lined the streets in support.

On Thursday morning the support and grieving continued as Colorado’s governor ordered flags lowered to half staff. He remembered Gumm as a man doing his job to protect others in comments to reporters.

“It seems like again and again. It’s the good guy — the best of the best are the ones that sometimes go down,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said. “The whole state’s heart is going to break. It has broken. It’s cracked in two.

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The Colorado House of Representatives also held a moment of silence at the start of Thursday’s session.

An impromptu memorial was set up Thursday at 72nd Avenue and Colorado Boulevard and people came by to pay their respects. It’s located outside an Adams County Sheriff’s substation where it’s assumed Gumm worked.

“Without them, heaven knows what this world would be like,” said Pat Aragon, who CBS4 interviewed at the memorial. “They do a good job for all of us, and they put their lives on the line every day 24 hours a day, and we appreciate their service.”

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“It’s extremely important to show support for people who lay down their life for everyone,” said Rebecca Cattnach.

“Officers saved me during my younger days and officers are doing their job of protecting the people,” said Bob Crespen. “They helped me out in my past and I give blessing to their family and all the police officers.”

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Gumm leaves behind a wife and family. He had been working for the Adams County Sheriff’s Office since 2012. He was a graduate of Mullen High School in Denver.

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“On behalf of the entire sheriff’s office, we are praying for the wife and family of our fallen deputy. Please continue to keep them in your thoughts and prayers,” said Adams County Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Amanda Overton.

In their Facebook post, the sheriff’s office said Gumm’s nickname in the department was Gummball.

Donations for Gumm’s family can be made on the Adams County Sheriff’s Foundation website. The family also asks that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation.

The Colorado Police Officers Foundation also set up a fundraiser for his family.

Information about a memorial service will be placed at a later date at adamssheriff.org.

Comments (2)
  1. Ann Pirie says:

    It is a crime to help another escape the law. While these two are not the shooter as such, they have information valuable for the investigation of this travesty and need to come forward.

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