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'It's got to end': El Paso County sheriff speaks out on healing in wake of tragedy

February 6, 2018 Updated: February 6, 2018 at 7:07 pm
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El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder speaks during a press conference at the the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado Springs, Colo., Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, reguarding the Monday’s shooting that left deputy Micah Flick dead and three other law enforcement officers wounded during an investigation of a motor vehicle theft in a Colorado Springs apartment complex. The suspect was killed and one citizen injured. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder has been dreading a day like Feb. 5 since he took office.

From the day he pinned the sheriff’s badge to his chest, he’s feared “losing a member of this family to tragedy in the line of duty,” he said during a news conference Tuesday. “Last night that fear became a reality.”

Deputy Micah Flick, 34, was killed Monday in a shooting in the 4200 block of Galley Road. He was part of an investigations team, with the Colorado Springs Police Department and Colorado State Patrol, trying to make an arrest in an auto theft case. Shots were fired, fatally wounding Flick and injuring four others: two deputies, a city police officer and a civilian.

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VIDEO: El Paso County sheriff Bill Elder talks about Monday's fatal shooting.

Elder declined to provide details about the shooting while the Colorado Springs Police Department leads the investigation of it.

But as the county prepares to bury Flick, the third Colorado deputy gunned down in the line of duty in five weeks, Elder said: “The senseless violence has got to end.”

“This is a tough business,” he said. “Unfortunately, in the past few years there has been a lack of respect for the men and women that are there to protect our communities, and frankly it just shocks me, it shocks my staff, it shocks the leadership of public safety throughout the country ... It’s got to end.”

Everybody knew Flick, Elder said, repeating the word “great” in describing the deputy, whose shooting occurred on his 11th anniversary on the job.

All members of Flick’s team were in civilian clothes, as they typically are, but wore bulletproof vests identifying them as members of law enforcement agencies, Elder said.

Despite their palpable grief, Elder said, “we will emerge from this stronger, and the community can be proud of what (law enforcement) do.

“These are dangerous jobs in dangerous times, but these men and women are here to serve.”

“We will be here with you,” county commissioner Darryl Glenn promised the community before the sheriff’s remarks.

As the community heals, Elder said, he has hope because of what he saw Monday night. Hundreds of residents and law officers braved the biter cold and wind, lining the streets as a procession followed the hearse carrying Flick’s body to the coroner’s office.

Elder called the procession “unbelievable.”

“That gives me hope for the future,” he said. “I am proud, proud to be the sheriff of El Paso County today.”

Contact Kaitlin Durbin: 636-0362

Twitter: @njKaitlinDurbin

Facebook: Kaitlin Durbin

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