BAILEY, Colo. (CBS4) – The community of Bailey is remembering Park County Sheriff Cpl. Nate Carrigan as man who left his mark on everyone. He died Wednesday morning in a shootout while serving an eviction notice.
On Thursday law enforcement officials and first responders escorted the hearse carrying the Carrigan’s body as it was taken to the coroner’s office in Fairplay. Information about funeral services are still being determined.
Carrigan was one of three deputies shot when they were serving an eviction notice to Martin Wirth at his home on Iris Drive north of Bailey. Deputy Kolby Martin is in serious condition at Saint Anthony Hospital. Sheriff Fred Wegener said Martin is “up and around.”
A bullet grazed the ear of Cpt. Mark Hancock who was treated at a hospital and released.
Officers shot and killed Wirth who was being evicted after refusing to make payments for his home. Wirth was part of an anti-establishment movement and had posted videos ranting against the government and police.
Wirth posted a YouTube video explaining why he did not make mortgage payments on his home saying he would not pay to what he characterized as a bunch of crooks.
Wirth filed an appeal in 2013 to have the state’s foreclosure laws changed that was thrown out. He also ran for state Senate that year but lost to the Republican incumbent.
Wegener held a news conference Thursday afternoon regarding the incident where he thanked the community and law enforcement for the outpouring of support for his agency. He said Carrigan meant a lot to the community.
“He was the consummate law enforcement professional. Nate’s death will be hard on our agency and the loss will be felt for a long time,” Wegener said.
Carrigan began with the Park County Sheriff’s Office in 2003 and had graduated from Platte Canyon High School in 1999. He was a baseball and football coach at the school following graduation.
“The fact that this incident happened is just beyond comprehension at this time,” Wegener said.
Wegener said the deputies went to Wirth’s residence on “a high-risk eviction based upon prior law enforcement contacts” with Wirth.
“Because of previous law enforcement contact with Martin Wirth, there was a higher level of concern with the deputies effecting the eviction,” Wegener said. “This was an eviction. This is something we do on a routine basis.”
Wegener pointed out that he has individuals in his jurisdiction who are upset about “the system.”
“We deal with that every day in a non-confrontational manner.”
He said in 2014 they dealt with Wirth on a previous eviction notice and it was resolved peacefully.
“We did not force a violent confrontation yesterday, Mr. Wirth did. We simply responded to the situation that was presented to us.”
Wegener said the investigation is ongoing and “the criminal investigation will go on for some time.”
A scholarship fund has been set up at the Bank of the West in Cpl. Nate Carrigan’s name.