DENVER — The Arvada Police Department is mourning the loss of one of its officers. Dillon Vakoff, 27, was shot and killed in the line of duty early Sunday morning.
Officer Vakoff was killed after responding to a call concerning a large family disturbance in the street in the 6700 block of W 51st Ave. in Arvada.
A male suspect, who has yet to be identified, was shot and wounded during an exchange of gunfire. The suspect is also accused of shooting a woman during the incident. Both are expected to survive. The suspect is in custody at an area hospital.
Vakoff was an Arvada resident and graduated from Ralston Valley High School in 2012. He was a staff sergeant in the United States Air Force where he served with the 96th Bomb Squadron for six years before joining the Arvada Police Department in 2019.
During a Sunday morning press conference, Arvada Police Chief Link Strate said Vakoff was training to be a SWAT officer and said he would have continued to have a positive impact on the department and community.
"Dillon is an example of everything that is good about a police officer," Strate said. “This is a tragic loss to this community to this department, but most significantly to his family and loved ones. His service and sacrifice will never be forgotten.”
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Shawnna Jantz went to school with Vakoff. She told Denver7 he was a caring person.
“He was always kind, caring, soft spoken when he was younger. But I think once he was a little bit older, he definitely came into himself more and served in the military and then joined the police department,” Jantz said.
Many in the community stopped by Arvada Police Headquarters Sunday to pay their respect for the fallen officer.
"When we all graduated 2012-2013, that same year, we are all pretty close. We have several officers, as well who heard about this. And we were all just really shocked and devastated to hear what had happened," Jantz said, who stopped at a growing memorial to honor the 27-year-old fallen officer.
This young boy, dressed as a police officer, brought flowers to the #Arvada cruiser in honor of Officer Vakoff.— Colette Bordelon (@ColetteBordelon) September 11, 2022
Earlier, we interviewed a 9-year-old girl who wants to be a police officer. She said this only reinforces her drive. @DenverChannel pic.twitter.com/P3dErwsdVF
Gov. Jared Polis offered the following statement following the incident:
“My thoughts are with the family and friends of Arvada officer Dillon Michael Vakoff who was tragically killed in the line of duty while responding to a call. We will continue to monitor this situation,” Polis said in the statement.
The loss of Vakoff is the second in just over a year in the Arvada police department. In June of 2021, Officer Gordon Beesley, a 19-year veteran with Arvada PD was killed along with two others during a shooting in Olde Town Arvada.
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This story will be updated as we learn more about the fallen officer