New Year's Eve began on a somber note for the Douglas County Sheriff's Office as it marked the one-year anniversary of Deputy Zackari Parrish's death. The husband and father was killed in the line of …
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New Year's Eve began on a somber note for the Douglas County Sheriff's Office as it marked the one-year anniversary of Deputy Zackari Parrish's death. The husband and father was killed in the line of duty on Dec. 31, 2017.
The sheriff's office held a remembrance ceremony for Parrish in front of the Douglas County Justice Center in Castle Rock on Dec. 31 in frigid temperatures, amid early-morning snow showers.
Lines of stoic law enforcement officers in black uniforms contrasted the snow-laden pavement as they laid a wreath for Parrish near a monument for fallen deputies, saluted him over a moment of silence and sang "Amazing Grace."
Parrish was killed in a shooting that unfolded one year prior as he and a team of Douglas County Sheriff's Office deputies attempted to place Matthew Riehl, 37, on a mental health hold.
Riehl was a military veteran and lawyer. He called 911 twice the morning of Dec. 31, 2017, first claiming to be victim of a domestic dispute. During the second, call deputies determined he was experiencing a manic episode. In order to place him on an M-1 hold, they entered his Highlands Ranch apartment and commanded him to come out from his bedroom.
When Riehl ignored their commands, Parrish moved to kick Riehl's bedroom door in when Riehl opened fire, killing Parrish. Deputies Michael Doyle, Taylor Davis, Jeffrey Pelle and Castle Rock Police Officer Tom O'Donnell were injured in the shooting.
Riehl was killed as a regional SWAT team entered his apartment following roughly 90 minutes in which he exchanged gunfire with law enforcement. Two civilians were also injured in the shooting.
Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock released a video statement on Facebook the morning of the remembrance ceremony. In the video, he thanked the community for its support.
“I wanted to say from all of the men and women of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, we are so happy and so honored to work in Douglas County, where we had the outpouring of love and care and concern for all the officers involved,” Spurlock said.
Spurlock went on to reference a number of incidents since the New Year's Eve shooting in which officers responded to dangerous calls.
On Nov. 27 three men shot at Douglas County Sheriff's Deputies while leading them on a high-speed chase beginning in Highlands Ranch and ending in Arapahoe County. Deputies who were authorized “to do whatever necessary to stop that vehicle,” Spurlock said at the time, ended the chase after crashing into the suspects' Jeep Cherokee with their patrol vehicles at high speed.
On Aug. 31, deputies shot and killed a man as he exited a vehicle with a gun pointed at them. The suspect was later identified as Paul Askins of Colorado Springs. Askins was wanted for two felony warrants and had a criminal history in Colorado and Texas.
Chief Deputy Steve Johnson with the sheriff's office said on Twitter that he thinks of Parrish every day.
“I miss you very much Deputy Parrish,” he wrote. “Thanks for watching over us, especially on 8/31 and 11/27.”
Spurlock said in his video message it has been a difficult year for the sheriff's office.
“We are looking very much into moving into 2019, starting a new year and doing what we can do to move forward,” he said. “We will never forget this time of year, we will never forget Zack Parrish and the sacrifice that he has made, and his family has made.”
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