‘Our hearts are all broken’: 3rd Colorado police officer killed in line of duty since New Year’s Eve

‘Our hearts are all broken’: 3rd Colorado police officer killed in line of duty since New Year’s Eve
Colorado Springs Police Chief Pete Carey reflects on the loss of a third law enforcement officer in the past five weeks in Colorado. “Tonight there is no distinction between our uniforms — state patrol, sheriff’s office and the Colorado Springs Police Department — our hearts are all broken.” (Image Source: Twitter screenshot)

El Paso County Sheriff’s Deputy Micah Flick died in the line of duty Monday afternoon, marking the third time a Colorado law enforcement officer has been killed in the past five weeks.

According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, a shooting was reported about 4 p.m. Monday. Police were investigating a car theft in a neighborhood of single-family homes, apartments and retail stores on the east side of downtown Colorado Springs, the Associated Press reported.

During the investigation, cops “encountered an adult male suspect, a struggle ensued, and shots were fired,” Colorado Springs Police Chief Pete Carey said at a news conference Monday night.

A firefight broke out, leaving two sheriff’s deputies, a police officer, and a civilian wounded. The lone suspect, whose identity has not been released, was killed.

“Tonight there is no distinction between our uniforms — state patrol, sheriff’s office and the Colorado Springs Police Department — our hearts are all broken,” Carey said.

“Deputy Flick was an outstanding member of my agency and he will be missed,” El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder said.

Flick, 34, served the department for 11 years, first as a security guard at the county jail, then as a detective. He is survived by his wife and 7-year-old twins.

How did the community react?

Colorado Springs City Council President Pro-tem Jill Gaebler described the police shooting as a tragedy, but added, “I’m not surprised,” the Gazette reported.

“People seem to be less and less concerned about the lives of our public safety officers,” Gaebler said. “It’s in all of our neighborhoods, and it’s enough.”

Jason Adams, 52, who was doing laundry nearby, ran toward the  sound of gunshots. He described the scene as a “war zone,” according to the Gazette.

“It was horrible — it was something out of a war movie,” Adams said.

Jovan Mew, 24, said he was also nearby when the gunfire began and heard eight or nine shots ring out.

“That’s definitely traumatizing,” Mew said. “I didn’t come to Colorado expecting to literally look across the street and hear a gun battle.”

What has been going on in Colorado?

KUSA-TV anchor Kyle Clark noted in a tweet, “It’s been three decades since Colorado saw three law enforcement officers killed in this short of a time.”

The Denver Post reported that Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Zackari Parrish, 29, was killed on New Year’s Eve. Parrish was shot while trying to negotiate with a man who was “in the throes of a mental health crisis.”

On Jan. 24, Adams County Deputy Heath Gumm, 31, was chasing a suspect in an assault case when the man fired fired several rounds from a handgun into his chest.

“Enough is enough,” Colorado Gov. John W. Hickenlooper (D) said in a statement responding to the shooting. Hickenlooper ordered flags be lowered to half-staff statewide.