Former deputy sues Park County Sheriff’s Office over deadly shootout

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PARK COUNTY, Colo. -- The Park County Sheriff's Office dedicated a flag and memorial in honor of Cpl. Nate Carrigan, who died in the line of duty one year ago Friday.

That memorial came at the same time another former deputy filed a federal lawsuit against the department.

The lawsuit claims the incident in which Carrigan was shot and killed could have been avoided.

It's the second lawsuit against the sheriff's office in the case of a routine eviction that turned into a deadly gun battle on Feb. 24, 2016.

The new lawsuit says homeowner Martin Wirth was known to be "anti-police" and armed and dangerous.

Then-Sgt. Welles Tonjes claims he warned Sheriff Fred Wegener that Wirth was highly volatile and that no deputies should enter Wirth's home.

But when he refused to come out, the lawsuit says Wegener ordered deputies to storm the door.

Wirth opened fire and in the shootout, Carrigan was killed and two other deputies were shot and injured. Wirth was also killed.

Tonjes' lawsuit says the deaths are the result of "inappropriate and reckless orders of the sheriff."

Tonjes criticized the way the whole thing was handled privately and publicly. The lawsuit also claims he was retaliated against, claiming he was wrongly demoted and forced to resign.

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