The Jefferson County deputy shot during a robbery Tuesday night faces at least one more surgery Wednesday, his girlfriend told Denver7.
The deputy's condition has improved and is now considered stable, the sheriff's office announced Wednesday morning.
"Though he was shot several times & is in ICU, his prognosis for recovery is good & for that we are incredibly grateful," the sheriff's office tweeted just before 11 a.m.
The deputy's name will not be released Wednesday, Aurora Police said. Investigators cited the ongoing investigation as well as safety concerns.
Several agencies, including the Jefferson Co. Sheriffs Dept. and Aurora Police contributed to offer a $6,000 reward in help catching the second suspect.
Jefferson Co. Sheriff Jeff Shrader says the deputy has been a certified peace officer since 1995 and has served in the department for more than a decade.
“I know this deputy personally,” he said, “a wonderful attitude, very engaging, popular with other people and a hard worker.”
The off-duty deputy was shot at the Courtyards at Buckley apartment complex parking lot at 17396 East Adriatic Drive, near Rangeview High School, around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
His girlfriend, who we are only identifying by her first name, Lisa, said the deputy was visiting her at the complex when he was shot.
Lisa said she was making dinner for her kids when they heard the gunshots.
"My kids and I all ran out as fast as possible and then the cops were here," Lisa said.
Another resident said neighbors were rushing to help while the suspects were still firing.
"Even though he was still shooting, there were still people coming out to assist," said resident Kenneth Mitchell.
"(The deputy) immediately started screaming, 'I'm an officer! I'm off duty, someone please help,'" said Mitchell. "By the third shot, he had that out and you could hear as he was screaming more and more that he was in pain."
Another neighbor, Mike Marshall, was among those who ran to help.
"I heard gunshots and came running outside. Around the corner, I saw two guys running and a guy that was on the ground. Ran up to him. He said he was an off-duty (deputy). Two holes in his stomach. Another guy that was there called 911. I held his head up and we put pressure on his wounds," Marshall said.
"He had surgery... he's having more surgeries this morning," the deputy's girlfriend told Denver7 early Wednesday.
"[He is] absolutely the most kind-hearted, biggest-hearted, caring, loving person ever. Very protective," Lisa said. "He would do anything for anybody, whether the knows them or now. Absolutely."
Police say this started as a random robbery involving two suspects.
The deputy was able to fire back after he was shot and police say he hit a juvenile suspect in the leg. That suspect is now in custody at the hospital.
Police established a perimeter and the Aurora Police SWAT team said it conducted a "thorough house to house search" with a K-9 unit. The Denver Police Department launched their helicopter to search from above. The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office also helped search, but they did not find the second suspect.
Shrader says his department received the news shortly after the incident happened on Tuesday night, coincidentally the anniversary of a Jefferson Co. Deputy’s death in a motorcycle accident in 2014.
“That's the call we never want to get,” he said.
Sheriff Shrader tells Denver 7 the deputy is now in stable condition after several surgeries.
“It’s just tragic that he has to go through this,” he said.