PARKER — A Douglas County sheriff’s deputy was shot and a suspect was killed during an exchange of gunfire and chase near Sierra Middle School on Friday, the sheriff’s office said.
The Parker Police Department said it was initially called to a home on North Dixon Drive on a report of a suicidal man.
When officers arrived, a man fired shots at them, and then got into an RV. The man drove toward Parker Adventist Hospital and continued to fire shots, the sheriff’s office said.
Witnesses said the suspect fired at least one shot at them.
Shawn Rubadue said he was on his way to get his son at Sierra Middle School.
“I was going to go help out with football practice,” he said.
That’s when he said he saw a man driving an RV crash into a wall.
“Some civilians run over to the camper to make sure that the guy’s OK,” he said. “I see the guy come out and pull out a gun and fire a shot. … He shot at my vehicle and the four bystanders that were running in to try to help him.”
Rubadue said he then saw another man pull up in a truck, get out and shoot the suspect.
“[He] reached behind his back and pulled out a 40-caliber and fired like eight shots into the vehicle,” he said.
Police later said the man was not a civilian but sheriff’s detective in plainclothes. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.
Rubadue called the detective a hero, and said it’s a miracle he and others weren’t hit.
“Whoever that guy was, he was a savior,” Rubadue said.
Sharon Lotito said when her mom showed up to pick up her seventh-grader from Sierra Middle School, she was met with the sound of gunfire.
“When she got out, she heard the gunshots,” Lotito said. “She said she heard four of them, so she got back in the car. I didn’t hear anything from the school. My daughter started texting me that she was scared.”
That’s what bothered parents the most. Many said they didn’t receive any notification via email or text from the school or the Douglas County School District, adding the emergency notification system was tested three days ago.
“This is a true emergency,” parent Carrie Roberts said. “I’d like to know how my children are doing and what I need to do as a parent.”
A spokesman for the district said they are investigating reports from parents that they did not receive emergency texts or emails, adding there might have been a technical issue.
The protocol is for schools to take the lead during crisis communication, according to the district.
The spokesman said the school sent out two notifications, one during the lockdown and another during the dismissal. The IT department is investigating what might have gone wrong.
No students were involved or injured in the incident.
The sheriff’s deputy was identified as Det. Dan Brite. He was in critical condition and still in surgery on Friday night. Brite is married to a Sgt. Christine Brite, who also works for the sheriff’s office.
Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock requested the community offer its prayers and support for Brite.
The suspect has not been identified.