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Body cam raises questions about what led deputies to entering apartment

Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock says after reviewing the shooting on New Year's Eve, he wouldn't change how his deputies responded.

9NEWS received more body camera footage Tuesday that provides context on what happened, though it raises questions about why deputies forced their way in after the heavily armed and agitated shooter.

Up until the moments before the shooting, Deputy Zack Parrish was doing everything he could to keep the man who shot him calm. He then tells his fellow deputies that he wants to take the man in for a mental health hold. 22 minutes later deputies push through the door of the and shots fly.

Deputies initially met the shooter two house before shots fired.

“What's your name again? Matthew. Zack, good to meet you,” said Deputy Parrish in a calm, friendly tone to the man who’d eventually take his life.

“I think he is saying and doing all of the right things,” said Dr. Shawn Worthy, a clinical psychologist and professor at Metropolitan State University.

The man Parrish is dealing with makes some out of the ordinary comments. “That would indicate that some of his understanding of reality maybe isn't the same as everybody else’s,” said Worthy.

The body camera doesn't capture any kind of threat. Ultimately, Parrish calms the man down. But the deputies get called back a couple of hours later. The agitated man slams the door in the Deputies faces.

“Oh a barricaded person is a dangerous person. Extremely dangerous person,” said Joseph Sandoval who teaches criminal justice at Metro State.

Parrish at this point calls for a mental health hold telling other deputies that the man inside is having a manic episode. An officer can detain a person for 72 hours if they present a danger to themselves or others though it’s unclear what specifically led Parrish to call for that hold.

There's no audio on the next 22 minutes of body camera footage so it’s unclear why the deputies decided enter the apartment when the man asked them to leave.

“If the person was psychotic and having a paranoid, delusional kind of experience with that psychosis, then if somebody kicked in the door and called your name than you would probably feel like your life could be in jeopardy or threatened in some significant way,” said Worthy, who adds that he doesn’t know enough about the shooter to really understand what he was experiencing.

Sandoval says when a person has barricaded himself in a home police training typically says to back off and wait for help.

“Because you don't know what he's going to do and there's no sense in harming anyone else. Just wait him out,” Sandoval said.

In this instance, the deputies move in with shields and weapons drawn and begin calling for the man to come out of a room. That’s when he begins firing at them through the door.

In an interview with 9NEWS, Sheriff Spurlock says everyone handled themselves appropriately.

“It's just not, one, appropriate and feasible to call a SWAT team on every mental health call. Not every mental health call, we've had over 500 of them since we started the CRT response. This is the first one that's gone this violent.”

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