Security, CO – El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPCSO) Deputy Andrew Peery was murdered in the line of duty while responding to a report of shots fired at a residence on Sunday evening.
The incident occurred in the 500-block of Ponderosa Drive at approximately 5:07 p.m. on Aug. 7, KRDO reported.
Deputy Peery, a second EPCSO deputy, and a Fountain Police Department (FPD) officer responded to the area for a report of shots fired and arrived on the scene at nearly the same time, El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder told reporters outside UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central on Sunday night, KOAA reported.
Sheriff Elder said the three law enforcement officers were “immediately met with gunfire,” KRDO reported.
One deputy returned fire, but it was not immediately known if the suspect – later identified as 33-year-old John Paz – was hit, according to KOAA.
Deputy Peery, 39, was fatally wounded in the attack.
He was rushed to UCHealth Memorial Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries at 8:07 p.m., according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
Investigators said they found the body of a woman in the front yard of the residence, ABC News reported.
Police said she was also murdered by Paz.
The woman’s identity was not immediately released.
A large-scale manhunt was launched for the alleged killer.
Police said Paz was ultimately found dead inside the home from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, KKTV reported.
Sheriff Elder said Deputy Peery was “a highly-dedicated, highly-decorated SWAT operator for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office,” according to KOAA.
He was also a U.S. Army veteran, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
“He put himself in the line of fire to save others,” one of Deputy Peery’s friends told KKTV.
In addition to his six years of service with the EPCSO, Deputy Peery also previously worked for the Bakersfield Police Department (BPD), according to The Gazette.
“He was a hero in every definition of the word,” BPD Sergeant Robert Pair said. “His loss is absolutely felt by our community.”
Deputy Peery leaves behind his wife, Megan, and two children, KOAA reported.
“Finding the right words to describe the tragedy that took place yesterday is impossible,” Colorado Springs Police Department Chief Adrian Vasquez said in a statement to KKTV. “As the chief of police and as a member of this community, my heart breaks for the two families who have lost loved ones and for the children who have lost a parent.”
“From the community members who called for help, to the deputies, officers, and investigators who responded to the shooting, we are all left incredibly shaken,” Chief Vasquez said. “To families grieving the loss of a loved one this morning, please accept my heartfelt condolences on behalf of the Colorado Springs Police Department. To our brothers and sisters at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, know the women and men of CSPD stand beside you during this difficult time.”
Colorado Governor Jared Polis also released a statement in the wake of Deputy Peery’s murder.
“My thoughts and condolences are with the family and friends of Deputy Peery and all our neighbors in law enforcement who put their lives at risk to serve others,” Polis said in a statement on Sunday evening, KOAA reported.
— EPCSheriff (@EPCSheriff) August 8, 2022
— Kasia Kerridge (@KasiaKerridgeTV) August 8, 2022
RIP. Colorado Deputy Sheriff Andrew Peery was murdered when he was shot & killed while responding to a shots fired call. He is survived by his wife & two children. STOP SHOOTING MY POLICE OFFICERS!!! #rip #hero #murdered #eow #DeputySheriffAndrewPeery #ElPasoCountySheriffsOffice pic.twitter.com/8Eu95oXMkY
— Protecting the Blue (@protectingblue) August 8, 2022
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Andrew Peery, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Deputy Andrew Peery, your life mattered.