Man who killed DougCo deputy in shootout was hospitalized for 3 weeks after 2014 psychotic episode

Posted at 5:29 PM, Jan 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-03 00:22:46-05

Editor's Note: Denver7 has independently obtained the VA report to Congress and confirmed its details, which were first reported by our news partners at The Denver Post, whose story is abbreviated and linked to below.

The office of Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., told Denver7 Tuesday evening it was in contact with the VA to seek further information related to the case. The shooting happened within Coffman's congressional district.


DENVER -- The gunman who killed a Douglas County sheriff’s deputy on Sunday escaped from a veterans mental health ward in 2014 during a multi-week stay for a psychotic episode, according to new report provided to Congress by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The one-page document, obtained by The Denver Post on Tuesday, does not detail the nature of the psychotic episode nor how Matthew Riehl escaped from a veterans facility in Wyoming and was later apprehended.

But it does show a pattern of mental illness that began to plague Riehl, an Iraq war veteran, as recently as April 2014. That month he was hospitalized at a VA facility in Sheridan, Wyo., and then at another veterans center downstate in Rawlins.

“Office of Security and Law Enforcement reports that during the inpatient stay in April 2014, the Veteran escaped/eloped from the Mental Health Ward, was located and brought back, and placed on a 72 hour mental health hold,” noted the report — which was not clear from which location he escaped.

Read more in The Denver Post.