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Deputies were ambushed

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, 28 kilometres 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.

The suspect was well-known to authorities in the Denver area but had no criminal record, said Spurlock, who declined to name him until his identity was confirmed.

Riehl said in his Dec. 13 YouTube video, called "Fire Sheriff Spurlock," that he would run as a libertarian, ending with holiday greetings and a vow to "fire all these bums come early next year."

Parrish, the slain officer, was 29 and a married father of two young children. He came to the department seven months ago after working as an officer for the nearby Castle Rock Police Department. Spurlock called him a "good kid" who was eager to work.

The three deputies and one police officer injured were listed in stable condition. Authorities identified them as deputies Michael Doyle, 28; Taylor Davis, 30; Jeffrey Pelle, 32; and Castle Rock police officer Tom O'Donnell, 41. The two civilian injuries were not life-threatening.



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