Shot Douglas County SWAT detective Dan Brite still 'very critical'

Posted at 9:34 AM, Sep 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-09 23:37:54-04

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. -- The Douglas County Sheriff's Office SWAT officer shot in the line of duty last Friday remains in very critical condition, doctors said in an update one week later.

Dan Brite was one of several officers who responded to a call of a despondent man with a gun Friday near both a school and hospital.

Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said the man's common-law wife had called authorities for assistance.

"She was concerned for his well-being," Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said at a news conference Friday. "She was concerned he might be suicidal."

Spurlock said when officers arrived, they immediately started taking on gunfire. Police say the suspect came prepared and heavily armed.

"Moments later, Detective Dan Brite was shot," Spurlock said.

Spurlock said officers returned fire and the suspect drove off in an RV.

As some officers went to care for Detective Brite, others followed the suspect.

Spurlock said the suspect drove his RV through some fields while he was shooting at officers and citizens.

"He turned his gun on the east side of this building [Parker Adventist Hospital]," Spurlock said.

Rounds did hit the building on the medical campus, but no patients or employees were injured.

Spurlock said the gunman was firing on innocent people when a Parker Police officer shot and killed the suspect.

"We had no conversation with him at all," Spurlock said of the suspect.

Spurlock said there have been a number of calls at the man's residence and with the suspect going back at least five years.

-- Detective Brite's rescue --

Brite was shot once in the chest. Police after the shooting say the bullet entered through the side of his vest, prompting the critical need for surgery.

After he was shot, the officers with him immediately picked him up and put him in the back of a vehicle, Spurlock said.

A SWAT medic, a paramedic that works for South Metro Fire District who is part of the SWAT team, started first aid and medical care, Spurlock said.

"His care was critical to getting us here today,” Spurlock said. 'We would not be here today if it wasn’t for the quick-thinking of the officer and the SWAT paramedic."

At the emergency room, doctors started resuscitation and aggressive life-saving measures, Dr. Michael Bertocchi, M.D. at Parker Adventist Hospital said.

Bertocchi said Brite responded to the initial maneuvers and then he was taken to the operating room.

"He had significant internal injuries," Bertocchi said.

While Brite remains in very critical condition, he is opening his eyes and responding to stimuli, the doctors said.

"He has made tremendous progress in the last week," Bertocchi said.  "We remain optimistic, but there is still a long way to go."

"It's heart-wrenching to see one of your officers in an emergency room," Spurlock said as he explained that Brite's wife also works for the sheriff's office, which is a close-knit agency.

-- Brite's family --

Detective Brite's brother joined deputies, police and doctors at the news conference Friday.

He thanked everyone and asked people to continue to pray for his brother -- a father, husband, brother, Detroit Lions' fan, former Marine and high-trained SWAT officer.

He doesn't regret his brother's choice of jobs.

"On that day, he had the bravery and courage to answer his call of duty with selflessness, integrity and honor which potentially saved countless lives," Steve Brite said.

-- Blood drive -- 

The Bonfils Blood Center is hosting a mobile blood drive with help from the Town of Parker and the Parker Police Department. 

It will be held this coming Monday, Sept. 12, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Parker Police Department headquarters. 

If you wish to make a donation, but can't make it to the mobile blood drive, you can always donate by mentioning group code #7311 or Detective Dan Brite Replenishment Drive at the desk at any of the seven blood centers located in the metro area. 


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