The Parker Police officer who killed the heavily-armed suspect who critically wounded a Douglas County detective during a shootout with authorities fired only a single shot with his AR-15 – a split-second decision that investigators believe may have saved numerous lives.
“I’m sure it weighs on him that he had to take another human life, but the alternative … I don’t know … we’ll never have to know that,” 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler said.” That was just an amazing shot.”
Body camera footage and a timeline from the chaotic Sept. 2 incident was released on Thursday morning.
The video begins with Officer Ronnie Dorrell running down a Parker street after learning that Det. Dan Brite had been shot by a suspect since identified as Randall Rodick. The 40-year-old had been spotted near Sierra Middle School with a gun.
His wife had called 911 to say that he was “really, really drunk” and armed with a 9mm pistol and AK-47. She claimed he said he would kill anyone who tried to stop him, and believed he was suicidal. Police came to his home and later saw him loading guns and ammunition into his RV. He fired at responding officers from the driver’s seat, hitting Brite.
The man later took off in the RV, crashing through a white fence, barbed wire and a large field. Witnesses say Rodick drove erratically, making multiple loops and going over curves as he powered through a small gully.
He later crashed into a small retaining wall just east of a retirement home. A man in the area who tried to help Rodick says the suspect pointed an AK-47 at him and told him to “get the [expletive] away” before firing multiple shots in his direction.
In the body camera video, Dorrell passes parents waiting to pick up their children from school as he and another officer hop into a patrol car and go after the RV. A civilian is seen near where the RV crashed. Dorrell is heard telling him to leave the area.
There is an audible sound of gunshots that police say came from Rodick. Some of them hit the hospital.
Dorrell only pulled the trigger once, but it was enough to eliminate the threat, according to investigators.
“To be in that moment with all that is going on, to know that there is an officer down, to know that people are being shot at, and to know that this guy is armed to the hilt and to be able to stop yourself, take in that sight picture, slow your breathing and pull that trigger one time and end this thing …” Brauchler said. “That is an amazing shot that kept this thing from turning into something far worse.”
Rodick was later pronounced dead. It took paramedics less than five minutes to arrive after he was shot, according to Parker Police.
“The suspect obviously as you can see had no regard at all for human life,” Parker Police Chief David King said.
Brite was rushed to the hospital. Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Chief Steve Johnson said the detective had a one percent chance of his surviving.
Authorities believe his proximity to Parker Adventist Hospital – as well as quick-thinking from paramedics – saved his life.
Brite was at Parker Adventist for a month after he was shot, and was recently moved to Craig Hospital for rehabilitation.
“I know Dan is incredibly grateful,” Johnson said,” and everyone keeps pushing him forward, along with this warrior spirit. We have high hopes for him.”
The community has rallied around Brite and his family since the shooting, holding multiple blood drives and exceeding $45,000 in donations on a GoFundMe account.
The District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday that they have found the shooting of Rodick justified under Colorado law, arguing that the man fired multiple shots at officers and members of the public.
Dorrell wasn’t the only officer to fire his gun during the incident.
Brite also discharged his weapon, in addition to three other officers, who were all found justified by the District Attorney’s Office.
“I find that all of the officers reasonably believe that their lives and the lives of members of the public were in imminent danger,” a decision letter from Deputy District Attorney Larry Bailey reads. “The officers also feared for the safety of near innocent individuals if Roddick was able to escape with a deadly weapon.”
According to the decision letter, Rodick had known addictions to alcohol and prescription pills and had admitted to being depressed.
His ex-wife told investigators that he had tried to commit suicide by cop before.
The day before the shooting, Rodick’s current wife had urged him to get medical treatment, according to the letter. He refused.