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Sheriff says shooting has taken an emotional toll


Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said he and his department are finding strength in the memory of slain Deputy Zackari Parrish.

Parrish’s father coined the phrase, “Live like Zack Parrish,” Spurlock said. His agency has adopted that mantra. Parrish has been described as a passionate law enforcement officer who loved his job and loved serving people.

“I was profoundly struck by Zack and the way Zack lived his life,” Spurlock said.

In a recent interview at the sheriff’s office’s Highlands Ranch substation, Spurlock touched on the impact of the Dec. 31 shooting on himself and his department. Parrish was killed and three other deputies and a Castle Rock officer were wounded.

“Emotionally, this is pretty draining and it’s sad,” said Spurlock, who was elected sheriff in 2014 after having served in various ranks at DCSO since 1980. “I’m responsible for the 615 members of my office. I’m responsible for what happens to them, so it has impacted me significantly.”

Particularly rough, Spurlock said, is seeing the toll on Parrish’s family, which includes a wife and two children.

“I see the pain that they are going through,” he said.

Spurlock said he will honor Parrish by trying to serve the community based on how the deputy lived and thought.

“Will it change me as a sheriff?” Spurlock said of the tragedy. “I think it will.”


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