BAILEY, Colo. (AP) — This tight-knit Colorado mountain community mourned a sheriff's deputy who was shot and killed while serving an eviction order, a man who grew up in the friendly hamlet where he coached football and baseball at his alma mater.
Cpl. Nate Carrigan, 35, who had a fiancee and four stepchildren, joined the Park County Sheriff's Department in 2003. His boss spoke about him in the present tense Thursday, saying he thought of Carrigan as a son.
"I don't like to think about the fact that he's gone," said Sheriff Fred Wegener, who wore a strip of black tape over his badge as a sign of mourning. "As a parent, you send your kid off and you want him to come back in the condition you sent him off in."
A gunman who had ranted against police brutality opened fire on Carrigan and other deputies who arrived at his home north of Bailey on Wednesday, injuring two other officers.
Master Patrol Deputy Kolby Martin was in serious condition but "up and around," Wegener told reporters. Capt. Mark Hancock was treated after a bullet grazed his ear. Officers killed the shooter in a gunfight.
In addition to his duties as a deputy, Carrigan coached football and baseball at Platte Canyon High School, from which he graduated in 1999. He was also a Little League umpire, said pastor Jay Vonesh, who knew Carrigan since the deputy was a "rambunctious" member of the youth group at Platte Canyon Community Church.
It's a community where "a lot of folks do double or triple duty, do what it takes," Vonesh said. "Nate, that was part of who he was. He could have said, 'I'm a cop, that's enough.'"
The shooting shook the community where the deputies were familiar faces.
"They live with us and they're friends and neighbors, and any time there's a loss, it a loss for all of us," resident Allison Henry said.
Carrigan is the second Colorado law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty in as many weeks. He attended a funeral last week for Mesa County Deputy Derek Geer, who was shot Feb. 8 by a homeless teenager, investigators say.
People living along the steep, narrow roads by the home where Carrigan was killed say it is a friendly neighborhood: Residents wave from their cars as they pass one another.
The community is an hour's drive from Denver. Along that route Thursday, firefighters and officers saluted as Carrigan's body was taken home from the coroner's office in Denver.
The idyllic setting where Carrigan grew up has seen extraordinary violence. In 2006, a gunman took several girls hostage at the high school, killing one before shooting himself.
By then, Carrigan was a deputy, and his old pastor said neighbors were grateful for how he and other officers responded.
Carrigan "was homegrown, so many of us did know him since he was a kid," Vonesh said. "He wasn't a hired gun, we didn't bring him in from out of town to do his job or be a coach. He did it because he cared."
Associated Press reporters Sadie Gurman and P. Solomon Banda contributed to this report.