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Mesa County sheriff’s deputy to be taken off life support after being shot

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FRUITVALE, Colo. -- A Mesa County sheriff's deputy who was shot while trying to apprehend a suspect on Monday will be removed from life support once his organ donation process is complete, the Mesa County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday.

Deputy Derek Geer was taken to St. Mary's Hospital on Monday after being shot multiple times.

The sheriff's office announced funeral arrangements to celebrate Deputy Geer's life. The service will take place Monday at Canyon View Vineyard Church in Grand Junction. Interment will follow at the Orchard Mesa Municipal Cemetery.

Geer's family issued a statement Tuesday afternoon.

"Our hearts are broken, as we begin the process of grieving the tremendous loss of Derek, our husband, father, son, and friend. The love and support that has been poured out to our family over the last 24 hours is humbling; the gratitude for Derek’s sacrifice and the compassion from this community is a reminder of the good in this world.  As a family, we need to wrap our arms around one another and try to find ways to begin to heal.  We thank you in advance for allowing us privacy while we grieve."

In a statement Tuesday morning, Mesa County Sheriff Matt Lewis said:

"I am heartbroken to update all staff that Deputy Derek Geer is in the final hours of his life. He is currently on life support at St. Mary’s Hospital while final arrangements are made for him to provide one last measure of service in the form of organ donation. I am told this could take up to 48 hours.

"We will not wait to begin to honor Deputy Geer and his sacrifice. Effective immediately and until further notice please shroud your badge in honor of Deputy Geer. We have posted a uniformed guard on Deputy Geer and will be providing a schedule of our needs if you would like to participate in guarding him. We will begin meeting with his family and working with them to understand their wishes and how we can support them. I will keep you updated as we develop plans with Deputy Geer’s family.

"Please continue to support each other and keep Deputy Geer’s family in your thoughts and prayers. I will continue to update as any new information is received.

"This has been a tragic and terrible day for the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office but I know if we support and care for each other we will eventually begin to heal."

You can find the Deputy Derek Geer memorial fund here.

Deputies responded about 11 a.m. Monday to reports of a man with a gun in the 500 block of Fruitvale Court, the Mesa County Sheriff's Office said in a news release. The suspect was seen walking south, crossing the Interstate 70 Business Loop and along the railroad tracks south of the roadway.

Geer found the man matching the suspect's description near E Road and 30 1/2 Road. When the suspect tried to flee, Geer deployed a stun gun.

"The suspect then fired several rounds at Deputy Geer, striking him multiple times," the sheriff's office said.

The suspect then fled on foot and responding deputies found Geer unresponsive. Geer was taken to St. Mary's Hospital with life-threatening injuries, where he remained overnight.

Deputies and law enforcement from other agencies searched the area for the suspect, and schools were put on lockdown. Just after noon, the suspect, a 17-year-old white male, was apprehended in the 400 block of Olson Avenue.

Geer, 40, is a U.S. Navy veteran who has been with the Mesa County Sheriff's Office since October 2001. He is married with two children, ages 13 and 11.

In a news conference Monday night that was posted to YouTube, Mesa County Sheriff Matt Lewis called the shooting a "tragedy."

The name of the suspect was not released and charges are pending.