Three Colorado deputies shot, one killed trying to serve suspect's eviction notice

The suspect, Martin Wirth, had been involved in an ongoing foreclosure battle with Colorado officials.

By Doug G. Ware

BAILEY, Colo., Feb. 24 (UPI) -- A Park County, Colo., sheriff's deputy was shot and killed -- and two others were wounded -- during a gun battle Wednesday morning 45 miles from Denver, authorities said.

The deputies were attempting to serve an eviction notice in the snowy mountain town of Bailey, where the suspect had been ordered removed from his residence, CBS Denver reported.


When deputies arrived, suspect Martin Wirth was allegedly holding a rifle and began shooting around 9:50 a.m. local time, officials said.

"Wirth came out on his deck, paused and then went back inside," authorities said in a Facebook post. "Officers quickly followed Wirth inside the residence as they entered, Wirth fired upon them."

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Cpl. Nate Carrigan, a 13-year veteran of the sheriff's office, was shot dead and two others were wounded by the gunfire -- one seriously. Wirth was himself killed when deputies returned fire. It wasn't immediately known how many deputies were involved in the confrontation.

"May he rest in peace and never be forgotten," the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office said.

The deputy seriously wounded, Kolby Martin, is an 11-year veteran and the other, Capt. Mark Hancock, is a 21-year vet, authorities said. Martin was shot multiple times in the lower part of his body, officials said, and Hancock was grazed by a bullet in the ear.

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Cpl. Nate Carrigan, a Park County Sheriff's Office deputy, was shot dead Wednesday as officers attempted to serve an eviction order against suspect Martin Wirth in the town of Bailey, Colo., about 45 miles southwest of Denver. Photo courtesy Jefferson County Sheriff's Office

Wirth had been involved in an ongoing eviction fight with Colorado officials, which was detailed on a website maintained by the Colorado Foreclosure Resistance Coalition.

The coalition states on its website that its goal is "to reverse the disastrous trend of foreclosures, evictions and sinking housing values."

"We continue to bear witness to the predatory and fraudulent actions of the financial and mortgage industries and stand arm in arm with those individuals and communities victimized by them," it continues. "Through education, sharing of resources, legislative changes, community outreach, and direct actions, we seek to keep people in their homes, support our communities, and work for an economy that benefits all people."

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"I don't have a problem with any judge who follows the law and the Constitution. But the Federal National Mortgage Association and its agents committed at least one felony and it was entered into the court records of both the State FED case and the federal case in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado," Wirth wrote on the site.

"In an effort to defend our constitutional rights, I am calling for all people to stand with me in a non-violent eviction defense of my property," he continued.

Wirth even posted a video of him discussing his opposition to what he termed "illegal foreclosures" on YouTube.

The gunfight is being investigated by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

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