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El Paso County deputy killed in line of duty Sunday

El Paso Co Sheriff's Office death Andrew Peery.jpg
Deputy Andrew Peery death_El Paso County Sheriff's Office
Posted at 8:41 PM, Aug 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-18 11:29:35-04

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — A deputy with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office was killed in the line of duty on Sunday, the sheriff's office said.

The office announced the death of Deputy Andrew Peery at 8:07 p.m. on Twitter. The 39-year-old died in a shooting shortly after 5 p.m. along the 500 block of Ponderosa Drive, El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder told Denver7 news partners KOAA.

Peery and another deputy arrived around the same time as a Fountain police officer and the group was immediately met with gunfire, Elder said. Peery was struck at least once by a suspect and officers returned fire.

The sheriff's office initially said authorities were searching for a suspect named John Paz, 33, a Hispanic male who should be considered armed and dangerous. On Monday, however, the Colorado Springs Police Department said the suspect, along with an adult woman, were found dead at the home by detectives from the CSPD's Homicide/Assault Unit.

In a news release, a CSPD spokesperson said the woman was found in the front yard of the home while Paz was found inside the residence, dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Earlier Sunday, around 5:30 p.m., the sheriff's office warned the public of law enforcement activity around Ponderosa Drive and Grand Boulevard in Security-Widefield. Authorities instructed residents to secure their homes and stay away from windows and doors.

A procession for Peery began at 8:30 p.m. from UCHealth Memorial Hospital to Nevada Avenue, to the front of the sheriff's office on E. Vermijo Avenue and then onto Interstate 25 and to the coroner's office.

Peery is survived by his wife and two children. Anyone who would like to help the family in their time of need can make a donation through Chase Bank under the "Hugh A. Martin Memorial Scholarship Fund" with Andrew Peery on memo line.

There are no other officially sanctioned accounts or fundraisers, according to the sheriff's office.

“Andrew was a highly dedicated, highly decorated SWAT operator for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office," Elder said. "He’s been with my office since 2016."

In a statement late Sunday, Gov. Jared Polis said: “My thoughts and condolences are with the family and friends of Deputy Peery and all our neighbors in law enforcement who put their lives at risk to serve others."

The CSPD will lead the homicide investigation and the deputy who fired his weapon will be placed on administrative leave per department policy. On Aug. 17, the other deputy was identified as Dan Carey, who has been employed with EPSO since 2018 and is assigned to the Patrol Division. No Fountain Police Department or CSPD officers fired a weapon during this incident, the CSPD spokesperson said.

Donations can be made to Peery's family through Chase Bank under the Hugh Martin Fallen Officers Fund with Andrew Peery in the memo line. Officials say there are no other official accounts or fundraisers.

If you have any information regarding this investigation, please contact the Colorado Springs Police Department at (719) 444-7000. If you wish to remain anonymous, you may call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at (719) 634-7867 or (800) 222-8477.

Editor's note on Aug. 8 at 11:15 a.m.: This story has been updated with information released Monday by the Colorado Springs Police Department.
Editor's note on Aug. 18 at 9:30 a.m.: This story has been updated to identify the other deputy involved in the incident.