El Paso County Deputy Killed in the Line of Duty; suspect found dead

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) – A decorated police officer was killed in the line of duty while protecting those around him from an armed suspect.

“He put himself in the line of fire to save others,” said a friend of El Paso County Deputy Andrew Peery’s heroic actions at the scene Sunday evening.

Peery, a 39-year-old married father of two and a six-year veteran of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, was among three law enforcement officers who responded to a 911 call near Widefield High School shortly after 5 p.m.

“The caller was reporting a shooting in the area of ​​the 500 block of Ponderosa, which is in Security,” El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder said. “We had additional callers who were also hearing gunshots in the same area. Two of our deputies, along with a Fountain police officer, arrived on scene almost simultaneously. As soon as they arrived, they were immediately met with gunshots.”

Peery was hit.

“Our deputies returned fire with at least one round, and after additional personnel arrived on scene, they immediately rendered aid and life-saving measures,” Elder said.

Despite the efforts of first responders, Peery did not survive.

“Andrew was a very dedicated and highly decorated SWAT operator for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, and has been with my office since 2016,” Elder said at a news conference Sunday night.

“He was a kind soul,” said friend Scott Stone. “He was a man’s man, he made sure that us, that the boys in his team were always looked after. He would have given the shirt off his back to his fellow officials.”

Stone, a former El Paso County deputy who was injured in the line of duty during the 2018 shooting that claimed the life of Deputy Micah Flick, spoke about what the loss has meant to his family police officer

“It’s one of the worst feelings in the pit of your stomach. It’s a heart-wrenching thing. You feel for his family, you feel for his kids. It’s going to be a long healing process.”

Colleagues walked the streets on Sunday night to pay their respects.

The procession for our fallen sheriff’s deputy will begin at 8:30 pm from Memorial Hospital. It will head to Nevada and pass the Sheriff’s Office in Vermijo. From there it will go on I-25 to the coroner’s office. Please line the streets with your flags for the family.

— EPCSheriff (@EPCSheriff) August 8, 2022

Condolences have poured in from law enforcement agencies across the country, including Kern County, Calif., where Peery worked.

We are very sad to share this news #EPCSO Deputy Andrew Peery was killed in the line of duty. He was a native of Kern and had previously worked at @bakersfieldpd. His late father, David Peery, was an officer in #LAPD and later a KCDA researcher. Our hearts and prayers are with the family. https://t.co/FD91cMOoR1

— Kern County District Attorney (@KernCountyDA) August 8, 2022

Governor Jared Polis issued a brief statement.

“My thoughts and condolences are with the family and friends of Deputy Peery and all of our neighbors in law enforcement who put their lives on the line to serve others,” he said.

Peery is survived by his wife, Megan, and two sons.

Immediately after the shooting, the sheriff’s office said the suspect, 33-year-old John Paz, remained at large. He was later found dead, although authorities have not disclosed how Paz died.

The Colorado Springs Police Department is the lead agency investigating this shooting.

We share our deepest condolences with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office tonight. The loss of Deputy Peery is felt by our entire community. Our thoughts are with MP Peery’s family and EPSO. Thank you, Deputy Peery, for your courage, service and sacrifice. https://t.co/ycnbdyGLmp

— Colorado Springs Police Department (@CSPDPIO) August 8, 2022

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