ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. – The Adams County Sheriff’s Office now says the two people who had been called suspects in connection to the shooting death of a deputy Wednesday night were interviewed and released, and that there are no outstanding suspects in the case.
The sheriff’s office said Friday “there is some confusion regarding who is in custody.”
Denver7 and multiple other Denver media outlets reported Wednesday night, after 31-year-old Deputy Heath Gumm was shot and killed, that there were two outstanding suspects related to the shooting who were armed and dangerous, which is what the Adams County Sheriff’s Office said at the time.
More than a dozen schools were closed Thursday in the area while police looked for the suspects, and Adams County Sheriff Michael McIntosh said again at a Thursday afternoon news conference that the two suspects remained at large.
But he added that they were not directly connected to Gumm’s shooting death. McIntosh said there were “two different investigations" -- the original assault call out, and the shooting.
But Friday morning, the sheriff’s office issued a press release saying: “Two other people were being sought in connection with the call that originally brought Adams County Sheriff’s Office deputies to the scene where the shooting occurred. Those two people were located, contacted, and interviewed on Thursday, Jan. 25. They are not currently in our custody. That portion of the case is still under investigation and no additional information will be released at this time.”
“To be extremely clear,” the press release said, “we are not looking for any other suspects associated with the shooting of Deputy Gumm.”
Prior to the Thursday news conference, Denver7 and other outlets also reported the name of the shooting suspect, which is public record. But the sheriff’s office demanded that the name and the suspect’s photo be removed, saying that information might be compromising the sheriff’s office investigation. Denver7 removed the suspect’s name and photo from our website at the time.
At the Thursday afternoon news conference, Adams County Sheriff Michael McIntosh said that “inaccurate” information was being spread about the case, but he did not cite any specific examples when pressed.
The suspect who is in custody is Dreion Martise Dearing, 22. He faces investigation on two counts of first-degree murder of a peace officer, one count of first-degree murder after deliberation, and second-degree burglary of a dwelling.
Dearing is set to make his first court appearance in Adams County court at 1:30 p.m. Friday.
Sheriff McIntosh is expected to address the case again Friday afternoon at a 3:15 p.m. news conference.
Gumm was shot and killed, allegedly by Dearing, after he and other deputies responded to an assault in progress near 88th and Dawson in Thornton just before 7 p.m. Wednesday.
One of the suspects, now believed to be Dearing, shot Gumm in the chest after a brief chase, according to the sheriff’s office. He was wearing a bulletproof vest at the time, but died after being taken to Denver Health.
Sheriff McIntosh thanked the community for their support at a Friday afternoon news conference and reiterated what his office had said earlier Friday. He said there still were not funeral plans that had been made, and said his office would not be speaking further about the case over the weekend because three other retired deputies had upcoming funerals in the next few days.
The Adams County Sheriff's Foundation is accepting donations for Gumm's family. The Adams County Sheriff's Office said that information about Gumm's funeral arrangements would be posted on its website at a later date. The family has asked that donations be made to the Children's Hospital Colorado Foundation in lieu of flowers.
The shooting marks the second fatal shooting of a deputy in Colorado in 25 days after Douglas County Deputy Zackari Parrish was ambushed on New Year's Eve 2017. This is the first deputy death in Adams County since 1999, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.