‘Family beef’ turns terribly tragic

It was many years ago. I was a young reporter working for a suburban newspaper in my home state of Oregon.

I asked a police officer: Which calls for assistance give you the most grief? He didn’t flinch. “Family beefs,” he said. You never know what to expect when you answer a call for a domestic disturbance.

This past weekend in the Denver area, that terrible truth about police work became a tragic reality.

Douglas County Sheriff’s Department deputies responded to a domestic disturbance call. A gunman opened fire on them. Five officers were hit. One of them died. The deputy who died was Zackari Parrish, a 29-year-old married father of two children. He died heroically in service to his community.

The four wounded officers are: Michael Doyle, 28; Taylor Davis, 30; Jeffrey Pelle, 32; and Castle Rock police officer Tom O’Donnell, 41.

The gunman was killed in a firefight with SWAT officers who entered the apartment building. I won’t identify the gunman because of this blog’s policy against revealing the names of monsters who commit these heinous acts.

Authorities say the lunatic shooter had a grudge against police. He ambushed the officers who responded to the call.

This incident goes a long way in demonstrating (a) the inherent hazards of police work and (b) the truth in the answer I received to my question about which requests for assistance give police officers the most anxiety.

Although it’s a damn good bet that no one could have foreseen the tragedy that erupted in that Douglas County apartment building.

May the four wounded officers recover fully — and may God bless the soul of Zackari Parrish.

These men are heroes.

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