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Police officer receives Purple Heart for heroic actions in New Year’s Eve deputy ambush

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- A police officer that was wounded during the deputy ambush on New Year's Eve that killed a Douglas County deputy received a purple heart at a ceremony on Friday.

Thomas O'Donnell is a SWAT leader with the Castle Rock Police Department. He responded to a call at an apartment complex. He quickly learned his friend and former Castle Rock Police Department colleague Zackari Parrish was shot and needed to be rescued from inside the gunman's apartment.

O'Donnell said it was chaotic as the gunman fired rounds through the walls, floors and ceilings. O'Donnell was shot but kept going. It wasn't until after they got Parrish from the apartment, that O'Donnell got medical treatment for his wounds.

Zackari Parrish's wife Gracie Parrish attended Friday's ceremony.

"He deserves it. He deserves it," said Gracie Parrish. "It was emotional to understand the gravity of the situation and the character traits that inspire them to run toward the gun fire. They are incredible humans and they deserve every award and more."

O'Donnell said receiving a purple heart has been surreal and humbling.

"I didn’t think I was that special, I was the guy that didn’t move fast enough out of the way of the bullet. I was just doing my job and helping a friend," said O'Donnell.

 

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