Authorities in suburban Denver were investigating what led a 37-year-old man to fire more than 100 rounds in his apartment on sheriff’s deputies, killing one and injuring four others. Two civilians were also injured.
The Douglas County coroner identified the suspect as Matthew Riehl.
A YouTube user named Matthew Riehl posted a YouTube video Dec. 13, saying he wanted to replace Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock and railing against the sheriff and other officers in profane, highly personal terms.
The incident began around 5:15 a.m. at Copper Canyon Apartments, a landscaped apartment complex in Highland Ranch, 16 miles (28 kilometers) south of Denver.
Authorities had left the home barely an hour earlier in response to a complaint of a “verbal disturbance” involving two men, the sheriff’s office said. One of the men told them the suspect “was acting bizarre and might be having a mental breakdown” but the deputies found no evidence of a crime.
When deputies were called back, a man who had left came by to give them a key and granted permission to enter the home, leaving again before shots were fired.
“The suspect was just making a ton of noise and annoying everyone around him,” Spurlock said.
Spurlock said deputies came under fire almost immediately and were shot “very, very quickly” after entering the apartment and trying to talk with the suspect, who was holed up inside a bedroom.
“They all went down almost within seconds of each other, so it was more of an ambush-type of attack on our officers,” Spurlock said. “He knew we were coming and we obviously let him know that we were there.”
The wounded deputies tried to pull the fallen officer, Zackari Parrish, out of the line of further gunfire but were unable to because of their own injuries and only managed to “crawl to safety,” Spurlock said.
Four officers, including Parrish, were shot from a bedroom around 6 a.m., forcing the retreat. A SWAT team entered the apartment at about 7:30 a.m. in an exchange of gunfire that left the gunman dead and another officer injured.
Vira Cover, who lives in a building about 50 yards away from the shooting, was woken up by a phone call from her fiance, Steve Silknitter, who warned her about what was happening and urged her to stay inside. Soon afterward she said she heard about 15 to 20 very loud shots fired over about 30 seconds or a minute. She sat on the couch with her cats and called Silknitter back before turning on the television to try to find out more…