LIMON | A sheriff’s deputy was in serious but stable condition Thursday after being hit by a “hail of gunfire” while trying to stop merchandise from being stolen from a truck parked along the highway during a foggy night on Colorado’s eastern plains, authorities said.
The suspected gunman was later found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot about 1,000 yards (914 meters) away after officers from around the sparsely populated but close-knit rural region poured in to help, Capt. Michael Yowell of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said.
Deputy Michael Hutton, one of just 10 deputies who work for the agency, was approaching the back of an open tractor-trailer as items were being pulled off it when he was wounded multiple times, Yowell said.
Hutton retreated, hid and stayed upright until help arrived but was not able to communicate with responding officers and was taken to a hospital in the Denver area. Other officers were able to download the footage from his body camera to see what had happened and use that information to help the search for the gunman, Yowell said.
A 62-mile (100-kilometer) stretch of U.S. Highway 40/287 from Limon, which is 89 miles (143 kilometers) southeast of Denver, to Kit Carson was shut down during the search. However, the suspect was found nearby after a landowner working with authorities noticed “different colors” standing out on the familiar prairie.
Hutton, an Air Force veteran and former military police officer, is married with a son and serves as the school crossing guard in Hugo, Yowell said.