LAKEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR) – For the first time, FOX31 is hearing from the Lakewood police officer who took down a gunman, ending his killing spree after he took five lives back in December.
Agent Ashley Ferris’ calling to serve our community as a police officer came to her while she was on a different career path as a project manager. Now, at 29-years-old, she’s become a role model and is hailed as a hero, getting letters from girl scouts and community members.
“It’s strange, I don’t feel like a hero, I just feel like I did my job,” Ferris said. “This is what the community needs us to do and it’s my honor and my privilege to do it.”
On the night of Dec. 27, Ferris took a bullet to the stomach while taking down a man who killed five people on a crime spree that stretched from Denver to Lakewood.
“I tried to stop him, tried to stop his hand,” Ferris said. “I backed up and got distance and drew my gun and I told him, ‘don’t do this. I’ll show you what I’ll do’ and he displayed a gun from somewhere under his like jacket and then we were engaged in a gunfight.”
When the shooter hit Ferris in the abdomen, the bullet fragmented. She said that fragments hit her sciatic nerve and her right leg was subsequently paralyzed. However, the pain wasn’t the feeling she was focused on in those moments.
“I was angry honestly, I was angry,” Ferris said. “I was like, how dare he, how dare he do this? But all things considered, the best thing he could have done was display his weapon to me, because at that time, I didn’t see his weapon. I didn’t know who he was. He had police identifiers on. What if I had let him walk away? Instead, he made the choice to fire his gun at me, and he sealed his fate that way.”
Lakewood Police Chief Dan McCasky said that he firmly believed in his heart that the shooter was out to kill more people and Agent Ferris’ actions saved a lot of lives on Dec. 27.
“She’s a hero. I mean, how impressive can you be?” Chief McCasky said. “She faced adversity and, as you heard her say, she won.”
Ferris went through two surgeries and she goes to physical therapy multiple times a week. The hope is to have her back out on detective work by the end of the month. She can’t wait to get back on patrol.
“I absolutely will be back because the community really showed up for me I have drawers full of cards, blankets, mugs. I look at them all the time, and I just this community showed up for me so much, and I’m going to continue to show up for them,” Ferris said. “I’ve had some hard moments but stuff like this, it’s I mean, how often do you get to be a hero to a group of young girls? Like that’s pretty cool.”