Colorado police officer, 27, fatally shot while breaking up disturbance, suspect in custody

The 27-year-old officer was responding to a large family disturbance outside Denver early Sunday, Arvada police said.

Officer Dillon Michael Vakoff of the Arvada Police Department was responding to a large family disturbance with another officer early Sunday, according to police.

Arvada Police Chief, Link Strate, said officers were met with a chaotic scene when they responded to a disturbance call at about 2:30 a.m. on Sept. 11 in the 6700-block of West 51st Avenue near Marshall Street, KDVR reported.

Chief Strate said that officers were attempting to calm down the civilians at the scene and separate “uncooperative people” when someone opened fire, KDVR reported.

According to Strate, officers attempted to separate several “belligerent” individuals when a female was shot.

The officers and the shooter then exchanged gunfire, and the shooter fatally shot Vakoff. A second officer on the scene attempted to rescue and perform First Aid on Officer Vakoff.

The wounded hero was transported to Lutheran Hospital for treatment and died a short time later, KDVR reported.

“Dillon is an example of everything that is good about a police officer,” Strate said, adding that he had been with the police department since 2019 and was training to become a SWAT officer. Before he joined the department, Vakoff was a staff sergeant in the Air Force for six years, the police department said on Facebook.

A suspect, who was also shot in the gunfire exchange, is expected to survive and is in police custody. There is no threat to the community, police tweeted.

The suspect in the shooting and the female victim were transported to nearby hospitals and both were expected to survive, KDVR reported.

Officials have not yet released the identity of Officer Vakoff’s murderer or the woman who was wounded.

The female victim, who was taken to a hospital, is also expected to survive. It’s unclear what her involvement in the incident was, Strate said.

A criminal investigation into Vakoff’s death continues, Strate added.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement that his office “will continue to monitor this situation.”

“My thoughts are with the family and friends of Arvada officer Dillon Michael Vakoff who was tragically killed in the line of duty while responding to a call,” he said.

Officer Vakoff grew up in Arvada and graduated from Ralston Valley High School.

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