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Neighbors watched as law enforcement pulled suspected Adams Co. shooter from treehouse

Posted at 11:11 AM, Jan 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-26 13:11:34-05

THORNTON, Colo. -- Two days after an Adams County sheriff’s deputy was killed in the line of duty, more stories are coming out about the terrifying confrontation between law enforcement and the shooter.

Deputy Heath Gumm was killed in that shooting. He leaves behind a wife, family and mourning police community.
A mother of three who only wanted to be identified by her first name told Denver7 she watched as police captured the suspected shooter in an area behind the apartment she lives in.
“I got home from grocery shopping. When I got home, my street was already barricaded off. Police were already there,” she said.
She was allowed to go into her parking lot but had a bad feeling and backed out, instead choosing to park in front of her building. Valerie said she told her kids to leave the groceries and run into the house right away.
“I ran inside really quick and my kids yelled, 'They’re in our backyard, they’re in our backyard.' So we went upstairs to go look out the window to the backyard and we saw them in our neighbor’s backyard,” she said.
Valerie and her children watched as police tried to convince the suspect to give himself up.
“They just kept calling him and warning him to come out, [saying] we found you. He just wouldn’t listen so they pushed the treehouse over and that’s when the dog kind of just went inside and he wouldn’t come out so the dog is trying to get him for maybe a minute or two before they finally pulled him out,” Valerie said.
She pulled out her phone and recorded several videos of the scene. She said next she watched as police cleared out his pockets and put the suspect in handcuffs before walking him to the front.
She kept telling her kids to get away from the window but they saw most of what happened.
Two days later, she’s still terrified of what she saw and what could have happened.
“I have all these ‘what if’s’ going through my head. I mean we could’ve been carrying in groceries and he could’ve hopped the fence and came to my house,” she said. “I’m scared to let my kids walk up the street to McDonald’s anymore.”
She still hasn’t figured out how to explain this to her kids or how to cope with the anxiety she feels.
“I’m going to look to see if there somebody I can talk to. I think I need to. I know I need to. It was traumatizing. I went to sleep crying, I woke up crying. I will never look at my backyard the same way,” she said.
She’s also told her kids to go talk to the counselors at school about what they saw to try to get help.
As for the deputies and police officers who were here the night of the shooting and the ones who continue to protect her community each day, Valerie had one message.
“Thank you. Thank you for protecting us. It’s a scary job and it takes a really special brave person to do what you do and I’m just so grateful for everything,” she said.
The suspect is due to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. Friday. Denver7 will have a report inside the courtroom.