EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — The Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) has released details about the fatal officer-involved shooting in Security-Widefield, which took the life of a woman and an El Paso County Sheriff’s Deputy.
Just after 5 p.m. on the night of August 7, a call came into 911 about a shooting on Ponderosa Drive in unincorporated El Paso County. Two El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO) deputies and a Fountain Police Department (FPD) officer responded, and when they arrived, they encountered gunfire from 33-year-old John Paz.
Deputy Peery was hit and gravely injured. Deputies returned fire and once backup arrived, they began lifesaving measures on Deputy Peery. He was transported to an area hospital, where he later died of his injuries.
While on the scene, deputies and officers found a woman dead in the front yard of the home. Detectives from CSPD obtained a search warrant and the Tactical Enforcement Unit entered the home, finding Paz dead inside from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The official cause of death for Deputy Peery and the woman will be released by the El Paso County Coroner’s Office. Both are being investigated as homicides.
The El Paso County deputy who was identified as having fired their weapon has been placed on administrative leave. No FPD or CSPD officers fired a weapon during this incident.
CSPD is the lead investigative agency, and will also lead the homicide investigation regarding the death of Deputy Peery and the woman.
On Monday, CSPD Chief of Police Adrian Vasquez released a statement on the shooting:
“Finding the right words to describe the tragedy that took place yesterday is impossible. As the chief of police and as a member of this community, my heart breaks for the two families who have lost loved ones and for the children who have lost a parent. From the community members who called for help, to the deputies, officers, and investigators who responded to the shooting, we are all left incredibly shaken. These tragedies are things I wish did not happen in our community; in the place all of us call home. When these types of horrific acts happen, there is nothing we can do to fully rebuild what was lost or to replace those who are no longer with us.
To families grieving the loss of a loved one this morning, please accept my heartfelt condolences on behalf of the Colorado Springs Police Department.
To our brothers and sisters at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, know the women and men of CSPD stand beside you during this difficult time.”Chief Adrian Vasquez, Colorado Springs Police Department
The Air Force Academy also sent out a statement in response to an inquiry made by FOX21, and confirmed that John Paz, the suspect in this case, was an employee of the Academy. He worked as a Squadron Aviation Resource Management Technician and had been employed since December 5, 2021.
“The U.S. Air Force Academy expresses our deepest sadness at the loss of life, to include El Paso County Sherriff’s Deputy Andrew Peery on Sunday,” reads a statement sent by the Academy. “Our condolences go out to all the friends and family affected by Sunday’s incident.”
UPDATE: EPSO has updated the account to send donations for Deputy Peery’s family. The account through any Chase Bank locally is now “Hugh A. Martin Memorial Scholarship Fund” with Andrew Peery on the memo line.