Uptick in violent exchanges between suspects, officers in Adams County in recent months

Posted at 5:39 PM, Jan 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-25 21:22:08-05

DENVER – Wednesday night’s deadly shooting of an Adams County sheriff’s deputy was the fifth incident since the beginning of November in which gunshots were exchanged between law enforcement officers and suspects in Adams County.

Thornton was touted twice last year as having the lowest crime rates in the country, but there have been several violent incidents over the past six months in Thornton and Adams County.

On Nov. 1, Scott Ostrem allegedly shot and killed three people inside a Walmart in Thornton. After an overnight manhunt, Ostrem was arrested nearby and has since been charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder.

On Nov. 30, two suspects fired shots at a Thornton Police Department vehicle during a chase, striking the vehicle but no officers. The passenger and driver both face charges.

Adams County deputies shot and killed a suspect in an altercation on Dec. 7, and a deputy was injured while fighting the suspect prior to the shooting.

Six days later, on Dec. 13, Northglenn police shot and killed the driver of a stolen vehicle.

On Jan. 11, a Thornton police officer shot a suspect fleeing a crash who had allegedly stolen a vehicle. The suspect suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

And on Jan. 17, an Adams County deputy shot and killed a man at the Pinetree Village Apartments amid a disturbance call.

Then, on Wednesday, Adams County Deputy Heath Gumm was shot and killed by a suspect whom deputies were looking for after a reported assault.

The 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office has already reviewed eight other officer-involved shootings that happened within the jurisdiction of Adams and Broomfield counties, though some that have since occurred have not been completely reviewed at this time.

But the office reviewed five officer-involved shootings in 2016, seven in 2015, and five in 2014.

Colorado state records show the Adams County Sheriff’s Office was involved in 10 murder or manslaughter cases in 2016, while Thornton police were involved in five that same year.

In Thornton’s jurisdiction, there were 125 robberies or assaults involving firearms reported in 2016, while Adams County handled 136 such cases.

One of the men suspected of killing Gumm is in custody and being investigated on first-degree murder of a peace officer charges, among others.