By Keith Coffman
DENVER (Reuters) - Colorado police killed a man on Wednesday after he shot three sheriff’s deputies, one fatally, when they came to evict him from his mountain house.
Officers were carrying out a court-ordered eviction of Martin T. Wirth near the town of Bailey, about 35 miles southwest of Denver, when he came out on his deck, paused and went back into the house, Park County Sheriff Fred Wegener said in a statement.
"Officers quickly followed (him) inside the residence and as they entered, Wirth fired upon them. Officers returned fire,” the statement said.
Corporal Nate Carrigan, a 13-year veteran of the force, died in the exchange of gunfire, Wegener said.
One of the wounded deputies, Kolby Martin, was airlifted to a Denver-area hospital, where he is listed in critical condition with multiple wounds to his lower extremities, said Susan Medina, spokeswoman for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
Captain Mark Hancock was grazed in the ear and was treated and released from hospital, she said.
Medina said the investigation is ongoing and would not provide details on what led up to the shooting.
An organization called the Colorado Foreclosure Resistance Coalition said in an undated posting on its website that Wirth was about to lose his home to foreclosure after a lengthy court battle with his bank.
The group said Wirth was “a fellow activist” who was involved with the Occupy Movement, an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street protest organization that sprung up several years to protest economic and social inequality.
The group called for members to congregate at Wirth’s property in a ”non-violent eviction” protest.
“We need to buy him enough time to file for a temporary restraining order on the eviction and attempt to restart the legal battle,” the group said.
Wirth ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Colorado legislature in 2014 on the Green Party ticket.
On a candidate questionnaire posted on the Denver Post newspaper’s web site, Wirth said Republicans and Democrats are corrupt and controlled by “corporate money.” He also railed against the death penalty.
(Additional reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Andrew Hay, Victoria Cavaliere and Kim Coghill)