The Home Front: An officer killed, multiple others wounded, and the shooter dead after an ambush in Highlands Ranch

“Zackari Parrish, the Douglas County sheriff’s deputy killed in a New Year’s Eve ambush, had boundless energy that fueled him through the night shift and kept him going during the day so he could play with his two young daughters,” reports The Denver Post. “‘He was just joyous and vibrant about the work he was doing,’ said Lacey Knight, a friend. ‘He was tremendously excited and in love with his wife and those two girls. They were his whole life.’ Parrish, 29, was gunned down Sunday morning while responding to a domestic disturbance at … the Copper Canyon Apartments on East County Line Road in Highlands Ranch. Three other Douglas County Sheriff’s Office deputies and a Castle Rock Police Department officer were wounded in the shootout, Sheriff Tony Spurlock said. Two residents also were wounded, and the shooter was killed. Parrish is survived by his wife and two daughters.”

“New teal-painted buses sporting the Bustang logo travelers may have seen on interstates 25 and 70 will be coming to Durango as Road Runner Stage Lines formally joins the Bustang network, which is slated for July 1,” reports The Durango Herald. “New, smaller and more modern 38-passenger buses will replace the 55-passenger behemoths currently used by Road Runner, and they are expected to arrive in Durango on April 1, said Michael Timlin, bus operations manager with the Colorado Department of Transportation. The buses will be labeled Bustang-Outrider. Outrider service will be Bustang’s extension to rural areas of the state outside the I-25 and I-70 corridors. Besides being more fuel efficient, the 35-foot buses will have Wi-Fi service, plug-ins for laptops, a restroom, bicycle racks, wheelchair accessibility and undercarriage storage, Timlin said.”

“#MeToo. Six characters that unseated politicians, swung elections and disgraced media moguls,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “Fueled by stories from women and men of sexual assault and harassment across the country, the #MeToo movement dominated headlines in 2017 and sparked a much-needed conversation about sexual violence in America and enabled survivors to talk about their struggles. “It was an incredibly powerful, wide-reaching movement that allowed for a lot of people who have been survivors to feel validated and normalized and not alone,” said Janine D’Anniballe, director of trauma services at Mental Health Partners and director of Moving to End Sexual Assault.”

“About 11 a.m. Sunday morning, the glow of red-and-blue lights flashed off the frost-covered streets of a normally quiet neighborhood,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Crime scene tape cordoned off a block of homes across from Fort Lupton Middle School, in the 200 block of McKinley Avenue. Residents peeked their heads through their windows while officers from the Weld County Critical Incident Response Team investigated what happened at the scene just 8 hours earlier — the third officer-involved shooting in Weld of 2017. A Weld County sheriff’s deputy, whose name was not immediately released, shot Michael Dwayne Nash, a 54-year-old Fort Lupton resident, early Sunday morning following a vehicle pursuit.”

“The surprise pending closure of a long-standing drug and alcohol treatment program in the Denver area has reverberated around the state, including raising concerns among Grand Valley providers about the future of such programs here,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “Arapahoe House announced in December that budget problems were forcing it to close all seven of its treatment centers because it could no longer afford to keep them going. The nonprofit operated those centers for 42 years. Capt. Steven Stanaert of the Grand Junction Salvation Army and Sharon Raggio, president and chief executive officer of Mind Springs Health, said it’s a bad time for Arapahoe House to shutter.”

“Kayakers and other river boaters will again christen the New Year with a chilly run down Shoshone this Jan. 1,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “This long-running, yet unorganized, New Year’s Day tradition has drawn dozens of boaters to the icy waters in Glenwood Canyon during a time that most people assume is off-limits for whitewater. Boaters will make the run from the Shoshone rapids down to Grizzly Creek starting at about noon today. This communal boating trip brings out some extreme whitewater paddlers from across the state and beyond. Some boaters will make the run only once, while others will go back for half-a-dozen trips.”

“18 people, events and outcomes to watch for in 2018,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs.

“The son of Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle was one of five Douglas County law enforcement officers shot in a barrage of gunfire Sunday during an apparent ambush inside a Highlands Ranch apartment complex,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “One Douglas County sheriff’s deputy — Zackari Parrish, 29 — was killed in the shooting. Two civilians also were wounded, and the gunman was killed in a shootout with responding officers, according to officials. “He knew we were coming,” Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said of the shooter, who used a rifle and fired at least 100 rounds. Pelle’s son — 32-year-old Jeff Pelle, a Douglas County sheriff’s deputy — was seriously injured, but is expected to recover.”

“A newly released state data dump shows that little ol’ Summit County stands second-to-none among its Colorado High Country peers — and 10th overall across the state — when it comes to recreational marijuana retail,” reports Summit Daily. “The Cannabist, a marijuana-focused publication by The Denver Post, first reported on the newly available figures earlier in December, shortly after the Colorado Department of Revenue “published a mother lode of previously unreleased sales data for the state’s marijuana retailers,” according to the article’s author. The new sales reports are posted online at the Colorado Department of Revenue website. They’re organized by the year and month, and backdated to 2014, the first year for which recreational marijuana sales were legal in the state.”

“A Loveland man has been arrested and charged with child abuse in the death of his 8-month-old son, according to Loveland police,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald.

“A new law enforcement academy is coming to Front Range Community College in Fort Collins,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. The first 17-week class for the Peace Officer Standards Training academy will start Jan. 8 at the community college. Police from the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Collins Police Services, Greeley Police Department and Loveland Police Department helped develop the curriculum and will assist in teaching the courses. The academy will follow the Colorado POST standards and state certification requirements. Before serving as law enforcement officers, police agencies either expect candidates to come in with POST certification or will send the candidates to the academy in their first weeks on the job.”

“Gov. John Hickenlooper on Sunday afternoon ordered flags lowered to half-staff immediately on all public buildings statewide until sunset Tuesday in honor of Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Zackari Parrish, who died in the line of duty responding to a domestic disturbance at an apartment complex in Highlands Ranch,” reports ColoradoPolitics. “Flags should be lowered from sunrise to sunset, the governor’s office said. Parish, 29, was killed in a pre-dawn ambush that left six others wounded, including three other Douglas County Sheriff’s Office deputies, a Castle Rock Police Department officer and two residents. The shooter was killed. Parrish had been a Douglas County sheriff’s deputy for seven month and was a Castle Rock Police Department officer for more than two years before that. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.”

“Earlier this month, Mark Soukup divided the hundreds of pages in the new tax reform among four other people in his tax firm so he could prepare a national webinar for tax preparers,” reports Denverite. “Soukup and his team at Soukup, Bush & Associates in Fort Collins each spent almost 48 hours during eight days trying to interpret what the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act means. “It’s a neat law, and it’s going to be a good law. But it’s a paradigm changer — a total paradigm changer,” Soukup said. “Even after having five people around me spend 50 hours each and me preparing a two-hour presentation and rereading it, I still have a couple pieces on this thing that I’m uncomfortable saying I know right off the top of my head. It’s very, very complicated.” Colorado tax preparers have a lot of reading and preparing to be ready to handle 2018 tax filings for people and businesses. And taxpayers are already asking questions ahead of the Internal Revenue Service providing guidance.”

The Colorado Independent is a statewide online news source operating in a time when spin is plentiful, but factual, fair and unflinching news in the public interest is all too rare. Our award-winning team of veteran investigative and explanatory reporters and news columnists aims to amplify the voices of Coloradans whose stories are unheard, shine light on the relationships between people, power and policy, and hold public officials to account. We strive to report the news with context, social conscience, and soul, and to give Coloradans the insight they need to promote conversation, understanding and progress in this square, swing state we call home.