5 Deputies Shot, One Fatally, by Colorado Gunman, Officials Say
Posted December 31, 2017 2:23 p.m. EST
Updated December 31, 2017 2:27 p.m. EST
Five deputies were shot, one fatally, after they responded to a report of a domestic disturbance Sunday morning in a suburb of Denver, officials said.
The gunman was shot by deputies and was “believed to be deceased,” the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook. Two civilians were also shot by the suspect, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The shooting occurred in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, about 15 miles south of Denver.
Three of the wounded were taken to Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, Colorado, with injuries that were not critical, Linda Watson, a hospital spokeswoman, said in a phone interview. She declined to say if the wounded were civilians or members of law enforcement.
Another four were taken to Littleton Adventist Hospital in Littleton, Colorado, Alyssa Parker, a hospital spokeswoman, said in a phone interview. She could not say how serious the injuries were.
Family members of one of the wounded deputies, Jeff Pelle, rushed from their homes in Northern Colorado to the hospital after getting word that he had been shot.
Pelle was in visible pain when his family saw him in the intensive care unit after he emerged from surgery, his sister, Shanna Jessen, said in a phone interview. She said he seemed less concerned with his condition than with how his two young nephews had taken the news that their uncle had been shot.
Jessen described her younger brother as a broad-shouldered former football player who was “built like Superman” with a sensitive “marshmallow heart.”
Jessen said that he had been shot under the armpit and that the bullet had traveled down his torso to his hip. She said he was doing “remarkably well” after surgery.
“He’s talking,” she said. “He’s in a lot of pain.”
He comes from a law enforcement family. Pelle’s father, Joe, is the longtime sheriff of Boulder County, Colorado. Jessen said her brother had been in law enforcement for about seven years, and he had been looking forward to celebrating his fifth wedding anniversary on Tuesday.
In a statement on Twitter, Joe Pelle and his wife, Stephanie, said, “Our hearts ache for all those involved, and we are not only praying for Jeff’s recovery, but for the recovery of everyone involved, and for the family of the fallen deputy.”
The shooting occurred after deputies responded to a call of a domestic disturbance around 5:15 a.m. at the Copper Canyon Apartments on County Line Road in Highlands Ranch, the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Facebook.
In updating its Facebook page with the news that a deputy had died, the Sheriff’s Office changed its profile image to a badge with a black band across it.
A motorcade of law enforcement vehicles escorted a hearse from the Littleton hospital.
President Donald Trump offered his condolences on Twitter, adding, “We love our police and law enforcement - God Bless them all!”
The Sheriff’s Office said an emergency shelter for people displaced from their homes was opening at the East Ridge Recreation Center, which features meeting rooms and two gymnasiums, among other amenities.
A spokeswoman for the center, Jamie Noebel, said in a telephone interview that the center had received a “handful” of residents and was prepared to house people overnight if necessary.
“We just want to be that safe place,” she said.
The Denver office of the FBI said on Twitter that it was monitoring the situation.
The Copper Canyon Apartments website describes its homes as some of the “friendliest apartments in Highlands Ranch,” minutes away from shopping, dining and entertainment in Denver.