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Former Jefferson County deputy and SWAT member describes officer response to active shooters

Grant Whitus served with JeffCo Sheriff's office for 26 years
Former Jefferson County deputy and SWAT member describes officer response to active shooters
Posted at 10:44 PM, Jun 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-26 23:18:40-04

DENVER — It could take weeks to get the results of an independent investigation into officers' actions during a shooting in Olde Town Arvada on Monday.

When Arvada police responded to the chaotic scene, one officer, 19-year veteran Gordon Beesley, was already down.

Those who've responded to active shooter situations said officers are forced to make difficult, split-second decisions.

"We train them all to take that deep breath, get your rifle and take all the information that you've been given," said Grant Whitus, a former Jefferson County Sheriff's deputy. "We tell them assess that information and go forward. You have to move. You can't wait for more officers because every 15 seconds, on an average, more citizens are being killed," he said.

Whitus served with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office for 26 years and was a SWAT Team leader. He also responded to the Columbine High School massacre.

"The information that was coming in from dispatch from hundreds of callers and so were all the tactical commands at the same time. We shared that duty as we're moving through Columbine. There was literally hundreds and hundreds of phone calls coming in," he said.

On Friday, Arvada police confirmed one of their responding officers shot and killed Good Samaritan, Johnny Hurley.

"Unfortunately the hero, Mr. Hurley lost his life in this tragic accident, but those officers did exactly what they were trained in, what they had to do, what they believed to stop a mass shooting,"

Whitus said when officers respond to an active shooter situation, they're train to engage immediately with a person holding the weapon as described by dispatch.

It's not clear what description was given to arriving officers in Arvada.

"We teach them if you're 100% on who you need to engage with, don't allow them to take another shot because you or somebody else is going to be shot if you allow them that time. Take that shot immediately. That's what these officers have been trained to do," Whitus said.

Whitus shared what he teaches in his concealed carry courses.

"I see a mass shooting, you know, I certainly engage the active shooter, take the shooter out," he said. "The minute I believe the scenario is safe, get my weapon down, get my hands up and law enforcement's coming."