An El Paso County sheriff's deputy was shot to death, and two more deputies and a Colorado Springs police officer were wounded during a stolen car investigation Monday afternoon, Police Chief Pete Carey said Monday night.
Killed was Deputy Micah Flick, 34, who is survived by his wife and 7-year-old twins, Sheriff Bill Elder announced.
Flick was slain on the 11th anniversary of his employment at the Sheriff's Office.
The suspected shooter was killed, Carey said. His identity was not released. No other suspects are being sought.
A civilian also was injured and hospitalized, Carey said.
"Deputy Flick was an outstanding member of my agency, and he will be missed," said Elder, choking up.
Flick was most recently a detective in investigations but also had worked security in the county jail, as court transport, on the special response team and on patrol, Elder said.
The shooting was reported about 4 p.m. in the 4200 block of Galley Road, where a Colorado State Patrol trooper, CSPD officers and sheriff's deputies were investigating a motor vehicle theft, Carey said. The officers encountered a man, and "a struggle ensued and shots were fired," Carey said.
That's when the two deputies, one police officer and civilian were injured. The officer, whom he did not name, was in surgery but "stable," Carey said. His condition was not released.
"Tonight there is no distinction between our uniforms," the chief said. "Our hearts are all broken."
Flick was the third Colorado sheriff's deputy to be killed in the line of duty over the past five weeks, and the 22nd law enforcement officer slain in the Pikes Peak region since 1896.
Adams County Deputy Heath Gumm, 31, was shot to death Jan. 24 while investigating an assault in a residential area north of Denver.
Douglas County Deputy Zackari Parrish, 29, was fatally shot and four other officers wounded Dec. 31 in an ambush in Highlands Ranch by a man with a history of mental health problems.
Police, sheriff's deputies and Colorado State Patrol all responded to Monday's shooting site, near Murray Boulevard and Galley Road east of The Citadel mall and Mitchell High School.
One man described the shooting as "a war zone."
Jason Adams, 52, was doing laundry in a nearby apartment complex when he heard seven to eight gunshots. He walked outside and into the Murray Hill Apartments parking lot, where he hit the record button on his phone's camera.
The video showed three people lying on the ground - each with police officers or paramedics huddled over them administering care. All three were wearing civilian clothes.
A Colorado Springs police officer gave one gunshot victim CPR, Adams said, while another person about 8 feet to the south appeared to have two bullet holes in the side of his torso.
"It was horrible - it was something out of a war movie," Adams said.
Jovan Mew, 24, said he was smoking a cigarette across the street from the Murray Hill Apartments when he heard eight or nine shots from the apartments' parking lot - first a few, then a break, then several more, then another break, and finally two more shots.
"That's definitely traumatizing," Mew said. "I didn't come to Colorado expecting to literally look across the street and hear a gun battle.
"Say a blessing for the departed."
City Council President Pro Tem Jill Gaebler, whose district encompasses the Murray Boulevard area, called the shooting a tragedy but said "I'm not surprised."
"People seem to be less and less concerned about the lives of our public safety officers," Gaebler said. "It's in all of our neighborhoods, and it's enough."
The shooting came just as Shield616 founder Jake Skifstad was presenting 14 new tactical vest packages to members of the sheriff's office and police department at an event at the El Paso Club. During the presentation, a police officer reportedly arrived in tears as law enforcement officers began embracing one other.
Money for the vests had been raised by the 100 Men Who Care, who each donated $100. They are one of many agencies throughout the county that have raised money over the past year to outfit all 684 police officers with the tactical vests, which are meant to protect against gunfire from high-powered rifles.
Skifstad could not be reached for comment Monday night.
Whether any of the injured officers wore such vests Monday wasn't known.
Just as the shooting was being reported, law enforcement agencies started sharing condolences on social media.
The Black Forest Fire Department offered "thoughts and prayers" to the families and officers at EPSO and CSPD. The Douglas County Sheriff's Office said it is "thinking about @epcsheriff," and the State Patrol in Larimer County tweeted, "We are mourning for our blue family."
"Tragedy south of us tonight," the Colorado State Patrol in Castle Rock tweeted just before 6 p.m., saying, "Our hearts go out to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office and Colorado Springs Police Department."
"Another loss to our law enforcement family during an active scene response," CSP in Castle Rock tweeted.
The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs police tweeted shortly after, "We are again expressing our condolences for an officer killed in the line of duty. Our thoughts are with you (El Paso County Sheriff's Office)."
The Gazette's Jakob Rodgers, Ellie Mulder and Conrad Swanson contributed to this report.