COLORADO SPRINGS – Colorado’s third law enforcement officer to be killed in five weeks was part of a group of detectives making an arrest in a car theft case, but authorities did not release other details Tuesday about what led to the shooting in the closest string of on-duty deaths in three decades.
El Paso County Deputy Micah Flick was killed and four others – two sheriff’s officers, a police officer and a bystander – were wounded Monday in a shooting near an apartment complex just east of downtown Colorado Springs. The suspect also was killed.
The last time this many Colorado officers were killed in the line of duty so close together was in 1987, when three were killed within a month.
“A number of other officers” were at the scene but not injured, El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder said, calling the shooting “senseless violence.”
He said the gunfire happened as they made an arrest and that the plainclothes officers were part of a group that works together regularly. Elder said they all wore protective vests as well as placards and badges identifying them as law enforcement.
Elder would not say if the suspect, whose identity has not been released, showed a weapon.
Colorado Springs Police Chief Pete Carey, whose department is leading the investigation, said Monday that the officers encountered the suspect and a struggle ensued, leading to gunfire.
A police spokesman didn’t immediately reply to messages seeking information Tuesday.
Flick, 34, who grew up in Colorado Springs, was killed on his 11th anniversary with the sheriff’s office. He leaves behind a wife and 7-year-old twins, a boy and a girl.
One of the wounded officers, Deputy Scott Stone was shot in abdomen and was hospitalized in stable condition Tuesday. His injuries did not appear life-threatening, authorities said. Sheriff’s Sgt. Jake Abendshan, who appears to have been hit by shrapnel, was treated and released Monday night.
The conditions of the police officer and the bystander have not been released.
The shooting comes just days after the funeral for Adams County Deputy Heath Gumm, who was shot Jan. 24 while chasing a suspect. On Dec. 31, Douglas County Deputy Zackari Parrish died after he was shot in suburban Denver by a man with a history of mental health issues.
Elder said he believes a lack of respect for law enforcement has developed in the past few years.
“And frankly it just shocks me, it shocks my staff, it shocks the leadership of public safety throughout the country,” the sheriff said.
Flags were lowered on state buildings at the order of Gov. John Hickenlooper, who said that the deadly violence against officers is having a “grave impact” on Colorado.
“We will once more come together to provide sympathy and strength for the deputy’s loved ones and pray for the recovery of those injured; however, we also must come together and say enough is enough,” he said in a statement.