Thousands pay final respects to fallen Adams County sheriff’s deputy Heath Gumm

LAFAYETTE, Colo. -- Thousands of people jammed into a Lafayette church on Friday to remember Adams County sheriff's deputy Heath Gumm, who was shot and killed in the line of duty last week.

Gumm's father Jim Gumm read a letter from the slain deputy's wife Natasha at the services at Flatirons Community Church.

“To everyone out there,, can we please end these awful, pointless tragedies," the letter read.

“He was there during some of the best times of my life and he protected me during my worst,” Natasha Gumm's letter read.

Gumm, 31, responded to a disturbance call in Thornton when he was shot during a search for a suspect. He was shot in the chest and later died at Denver Health Medical Center.

About 4,000 family, friends, citizens, law enforcement and first responders gathered to remember Gumm.

“We don’t know how we are going to make it through today, tomorrow or next week, but looking around this room, I can tell that we have massive amounts of support," Jim Gumm said.

Jim Gumm also read a letter from his wife, Becky, who detailed Heath Gumm as someone who liked heroes such as in "Star Wars," Indiana Jones and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Heath Gumm had been with the Adams County Sheriff's Office since 2012. He graduated from Mullen High School in 2004.

“Everyone in this room is a hero, not just the ones wearing uniforms and badges, but everyone who is here and everyone listening to this,” Jim Gumm said.

Before the services, hundreds of law enforcement, first responders and citizens paid their final respects during a large procession.

The suspect, 22-year-old Dreion Dearing, is facing four counts of first-degree murder.

Gumm was the second sheriff's deputy in the Denver metro area to die in the line of duty in less than a month.

Douglas County sheriff's deputy Zackari Parrish died on New Year's Eve morning in a shooting at a Highlands Ranch apartment complex. The suspect was shot and killed by a SWAT team.