Douglas County, CO — In what is being referred to as an “ambush style” attack, a Colorado deputy was tragically killed New Year’s Eve by a delusional gunman. Although the attack was called an ‘ambush’ in the media, the shooter, Matthew Riehl live-streamed the attack before which he is heard telling deputies to go away.
Late Sunday afternoon the deputy who lost his life was identified as 29-year-old Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Zackari Parrish. He was described as a veteran law enforcement officer, and leaves behind a wife and two children. Along with Parrish, four other deputies were shot, as well as two civilians.
The incident began early Sunday morning when deputies showed up to Riehl’s apartment to talk about a restraining order he wished to file against his domestic partner.
Instead of ambushing the officers, Riehl refused to cooperate with them, did not answer their questions and demanded to see a warrant when they asked to come inside. After Riehl refused to let them in, he then shut the door after telling them he was going to bed.
The deputies then left only to return a short time later. According to Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock, this time, officers were let into the apartment by Riehl’s roommate. When they attempted to enter Riehl’s bedroom, he then opened fire.
In the video, which was live-streamed to Periscope, multiple shots can be heard being fired from a high-powered rifle. It was this initial barrage that wounded three deputies and killed another.
Although the video was taken down by Periscope at the request of the Sheriff’s department, a brief excerpt of the audio remains to show the intense nature of the confrontation and the psychotic nature of Riehl.
Gephardt Daily managed to obtain the entire stream which shows the lead-up to the attack, as well the shooting itself.
According to their report, while the live stream played out on the Internet, the gunman continued to rant before approaching the gravely wounded deputy and shooting him multiple times at point-blank range.
Moments later, he rummaged through the downed deputy’s pockets, saying that he was looking for a search warrant.
“There’s no warrant,” he exclaimed. “It’s illegal search and seizure! This is a classic courtroom defense!”
Riehl then shot the deputy again.
In the video, Riehl is then seen putting on a gas mask as he appears to wait for more officers to show up. Throughout the morning, Riehl fired more shots until he was ultimately shot and killed by police.
NBC Denver’s Kyle Clark reports that Riehl did a tour of Iraq in 2009 until 2010. In 2012, Riehl was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army reserve after joining in 2003. Clark later reported that while in Iraq, Riehl’s duty was mainly in security.
Riehl operated a Facebook page and a YouTube channel on which he was outspoken against the police department and is seen in a collection of eerie rants.
After the release of the Periscope video, many have taken to social media to question the officers’ response to the situation. Had they gotten an actual warrant instead of simply walking into the apartment, many are saying that it could’ve resulted in a different outcome in which the 29-year-old father of two would still be alive.
Below is the audio from the Periscope live stream. It contains graphic audio and may be disturbing to some listeners.