The father of the Adams County deputy who was killed while responding to an assault call read an important message from his son’s wife at his funeral.
“To everyone out there,” the letter read. “Can we please end these awful, pointless tragedies?”
Deputy Heath Gumm, 31, was shot and killed while responding to an assault call the night of Jan 24. He was the second Colorado deputy killed on the job in less than a month.
He was laid to rest Friday morning at Flatirons Community Church in Lafayette.
PHOTOS: Remembering Deputy Heath Gumm
Family, friends, strangers and thousands of members of law enforcement gathered to honor Gumm during a procession that wound through Adams County.
“We don’t know how we are going to make it through today, tomorrow or next week,” Jim Gumm, Heath’s father, said during the funeral,” but looking around this room, I can tell that we have massive amounts of support.”
Jim Gumm read letters from Heath’s wife, Natasha, and his mother, Becky.
Heath Gumm’s mother’s letter detailed a child who loved typical heroes like Indiana Jones, Star Wars and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Of course, Heath Gumm would go on to become a real life hero by joining the Adams County Sheriff’s Office in 2012.
“You have always made us so proud,” Jim Gumm said during his eulogy. "When you were growing up, we always tried to instill in you the values of honesty, integrity strength and compassion. Somewhere along the way, the student became the teacher."
He continued, saying that his son always made his family proud.
"To those of you who are here to honor our son, we don’t know how we’re going to make it through the day, tomorrow, next week or forever," Jim Gumm said. "But as I look around this room, I can tell that we have massive amounts of support and that gives me hope knowing that we can lean on all of you."
In her letter, Natasha Gumm wrote that it would be “hard to live without the Lewis to my Clark” and said the pair was always on an adventure.
“He was there during some of the best times of my life and he protected me during my worst,” her letter read.
Heath Gumm’s family thanked the community for their support during the week since their unthinkable loss.
“Everyone in this room is a hero: not just the ones wearing uniforms and badges, but everyone who is here and everyone listening to this,” Jim Gumm said.
PHOTOS: Funeral procession for Deputy Heath Gumm
Heath Gumm’s fellow officers also spoke during his funeral, describing a devoted civil servant who had an amazing sense of humor.
His casket was brought into the church for his funeral as Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” played in the background.
Adams County Sheriff Mike McIntosh read a letter that a woman wrote to him after she learned Gumm was dead.
The letter described a 2 a.m. phone call she received on an "icy and snowy night" from a "kind, pleasant man."
The woman's son had been struggling with the death of his father and turned to alcohol. She wrote that on that night, Gumm called her and said her son had been picked up in a bad part of town and was very intoxicated.
He was in jail, Gumm told her, but had asked that she take care of his backpack.
In the letter, the woman said she told Gumm she would take the backpack, but was older and didn't drive much anyone -- especially in bad weather.
Gumm told her that would be fine and drove all the way to her house to bring over the backpack and assure her that her son was safe.
"I have no doubt that Deputy Gumm was an angel sent to help my son that icy, cold night, and no doubt he's with the angels now," the letter said.
McIntosh said that he has decided to make Gumm an honorary detective -- a job that he always wanted to have.
"It is from his parents, from his upbringing, that he became the man that he is and a representation not just of the Adams County Sheriff's Office, but to all law enforcement," McIntosh said.
Here's the full text of the letter Gumm's wife wrote:
Heath was my rock, he was my guiding light. In our lives, we were always after the next adventure. Big or small. So many of our waking moments together, seeing smoothing new time and time again. It will be hard to live without the Lewis to my Clark. He was there for some of the best times of my life and he protected me during some of my worst. I only hope he knows how much I and the rest of us here loved and cherished him. I know Heath would so much rather be making all of us laugh right now, but I also know he would so honored by people and the community coming together in this time of darkness. Thank you for all of your love and support and to everyone out there, I beg of you, can we please end these awful pointless tragedies.