By Rick Sallinger

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – On Tuesday, the Douglas County Sheriff Office revealed the gunman who killed a deputy, wounded four other law enforcement officers and two civilians had 15 weapons with him in his apartment.

CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger spoke with Sheriff Tony Spurlock.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger interviews Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock. (credit: CBS)

“Did they know he was armed?” Sallinger asked.

“They knew he had access to weapons from intelligence reports and from what his roommate had told them,” said Spurlock.

(credit: Douglas County Sheriff’s Office)

He says his deputies suspected Matthew Riehl would not go with them willingly, but they did not expect the onslaught of gunfire.

Sallinger asked the sheriff, “Did they do the right thing going in?”

Spurlock replied, “They did because at some point they knew they had to because he had severe mental issues.”

(credit: Douglas County Sheriff)

He said it was a joint decision involving four officers and a supervisor.

“They worked out a safety plan and took in the shield they wouldn’t take on other calls,” said Spurlock.

Weapons used by the gunman in the Copper Canyon shooting. (credit: Douglas County Sheriff’s Office)

Spurlock says among the gunman’s weapons were a shotgun, an M-4, an M-16 and a pistol which he used. He fired more than 100 rounds.

Weapons used by the gunman in the Copper Canyon shooting. (credit: Douglas County Sheriff’s Office)

The sheriff said it was too much to handle.

“I don’t think they were prepared to be ambushed in the fashion in which they were. I don’t think they anticipated this guy was going to have so many weapons, that much ammunition to shoot repetitively at the officers,” Spurlock said.

The sherriff emphasized this was one of 500 similar types of calls that went smoothly. He emphasized the need to improve how law enforcement deals with the mentally ill.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.


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