DENVER – Authorities in Colorado have arrested a man suspected of fatally shooting a sheriff’s deputy, but some schools in the area were shut down as police combed a residential area north of Denver for evidence and two men that authorities believe were nearby the killing.
Deputy Heath Gumm, 31, and other deputies were responding to a disturbance about 8 miles north of downtown Denver when the shooting took place, the Adams County Sheriff’s Office said.
Deputies were called to an “assault in progress” and saw one of the suspects run behind a house. When deputies caught up with the man, he pulled out a handgun and opened fire, striking Gumm in the chest, the sheriff’s office said. The suspect fled but was later taken into custody.
Sheriff Michael McIntosh said police believe three men, including the accused shooter, were involved in the original altercation that brought deputies to the area. The other two men are not suspects in Gumm’s death, he said.
The sheriff’s office has not released names or detailed descriptions of them.
McIntosh refused to release the name or a photo of the accused gunman, telling reporters it would compromise the investigation.
Court records, though, said 22-year-old Dreion Martise Dearing was being held on suspicion of homicide of a peace officer and second-degree burglary in the county jail. It’s not clear if he has an attorney.
Police maintained a strong presence in the area of the shooting Thursday, and some residents told local media outlets that police asked for permission to search their yards.
After Gumm died, a hearse carrying his body left a Denver hospital early Thursday, accompanied by a procession of officers from federal, state and local agencies. Despite the hour, people, some of them holding American flags, stood on the sidewalk as the procession passed.
The shooting happened less than a month after 29-year-old Douglas County sheriff’s Deputy Zackari Parrish was fatally shot and four other officers were wounded in suburban Denver by a man with a history of mental health problems.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper called the killings “flat-out heartbreaking.”
“It seems like again and again it’s the good guys – the best – are the ones that go down,” the governor said. “I think we, as a community, have to put more work into our families and try to make sure that people understand how to defuse things.”
Gumm was married and had worked for the sheriff’s office since 2012, the sheriff’s office said.
Hickenlooper ordered state flags to remain at half-staff until sunset on the day of Gumm’s funeral.