Weeks before a gunman opened fire on Colorado sheriffs deputies, police officers had reportedly been warned about the assailant posting disturbing messages online.
Douglas County Sheriff’s Department officials have identified the shooter as 37-year-old Matthew Riehl. He killed one deputy and wounded four others, also injuring two civilians, before dying in a gun battle with law enforcement last weekend.
According to Wyoming’s K2 radio, students at the University of Wyoming’s law school received an email in early November warning about a “suspicious behavior involving a former student” and attached an image of Mr Riehl, who had graduated from the school. The said there were “no direct threats to faculty, staff, or students”.
University of Wyoming Police Chief Mike Samp confirmed to the Denver Post that detectives contacted the Lone Tree, Colorado police department to warn that Mr Riehl had been making indirect threats against professors, including emailing an image of himself holding a semiautomatic rifle. A University of Wyoming spokesman told the Post that Mr Riehl’s writings on self-created websites were “alarming and bizarre”.
“It certainly did catch our attention. Anyone who read those posts can be left with an opinion that they were threatening,” spokesman Chad Baldwin told the Post.
In a video posted to YouTube by a user named Matthew Riehl, a voice can be heard critiquing video of a law enforcement stop of a car said to be occurring in Lone Tree. The speaker repeatedly belittles the officer conducting the stop.
Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock told reporters over the weekend that Mr Riehl had no criminal record but was a “familiar” person to his department due to past contact.
Deputies who arrived at Mr Riehl’s apartment early Sunday morning walked into an “ambush-type” assault, Mr Spurlock told reporters, with the gunman firing off more than 100 rounds before being killed.
Three of the four wounded deputies had been released from the hospital and a fourth was stable and expected to make a full recovery, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department said.