A hearse carrying the body of Heath Gumm, a fallen Adams County sheriff’s deputy, rolled out of a garage at Denver Health medical center around 12:30 a.m. as a solemn procession of police cars escorted it along Speer Boulevard toward I-25.
The hearse was escorted by hundreds of police vehicles from across the Front Range. Their flashing red and blue lights flickered for several city blocks along Speer Boulevard.
The procession included officers from federal, state and local agencies. They came from Aurora, Englewood, Lakewood, the University of Colorado, U.S. Homeland Security and Black Hawk to show their respect for a fallen officer.
This is very solemn. RIP pic.twitter.com/h7aXoKBIwH
— Noelle Phillips (@Noelle_Phillips) January 25, 2018
— John Leyba (@Presto89) January 25, 2018
Police from various agencies began arriving at the hospital shortly after Gumm was shot, about 7 p.m., while responding to a report of an assault outside a Thornton-area liquor store.
The sheriff’s department said Gumm was shot in the chest multiple times and pronounced dead at the hospital.
As the hours passed, more and more officers began arriving. Some sat in their cars to stay warm while others huddled in small groups and quietly talked.
A few citizens stood in the 30-degree night, watching the police vehicles roll past. Some removed caps. Others held their hands over their hearts.
Gary Vigil and his wife, Nicole Diaz, were among the few paying respects. Vigil is a retired Denver Sheriff Department deputy, and Diaz’s father is retired Denver Police Department officer.
“It’s a family. It’s a brother or a sister in blue,” Vigil said. “You may not know them but you know what they do.”