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Parents of man who killed Douglas County deputy critical of response; sheriff responds

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. -- The parents of the man who fatally shot a Douglas County sheriff’s deputy on New Year's Eve spoke Monday after an investigation determined deputies were justified to use deadly force.

Matthew Riehl's father accused Sheriff Tony Spurlock of unethical behavior, saying the couple have not spoken with him and, "what [Spurlock] was doing was covering up the out-of-order behavior of his team of officers."

Deputy Zackari Parrish was shot along with three other sheriff’s deputies, a Castle Rock Police Department SWAT officer and two citizens in an ambush at a Highlands Ranch apartment.

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Parrish died at the scene. Riehl, also died in the confrontation.

Riehl's father points the finger at the sheriff's office for using force they feel was over the line.

"They didn't have a search warrant and what was the big rush when the guy is in his own bedroom, barricaded, and obviously not capable of going any place. They had him trapped," Riehl's father said.

Spurlock's office disputes the claims, saying, "due to the circumstances of the event and the fact that a key was given to our deputies by the documented legal resident of the apartment a search warrant was not necessary and the deputies actions were not illegal."

Riehl's father also suggested deputies could have used alternate ways to extract Riehl from his apartment.

"What was the rush? How about a little canister of tear gas right through his window and they could have escorted him out and nobody would have gotten shot," he said.

The sheriff's office declined to comment on that point, saying, "to avoid conflict we’ll decline to comment on this as we are not going to publicly discuss tactics."

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