Update: According to KKTV, suspect Jon Paz was found dead in his home due to an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Paz was an employee of the U.S. Air Force Academy and worked with the 94th Flight training squadron.
“The U.S. Air Force Academy expresses our deepest sadness at the loss of life, to include El Paso County Sherriff’s Deputy Andrew Peery on Sunday,” said Dean Miller, Chief of Media Operations for USAFA.
“Our condolences go out to all the friends and family affected by Sunday’s incident. We can confirm that suspect John Paolo Paz was employed at the 94th Flying Training Squadron at the U.S. Air Force Academy Airfield.”
The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Andrew Peery was no stranger to service. He served his country as a soldier and he served his community as a law enforcement officer.
During his Army service, Peery served as an airborne infantryman. From 2001 to 2004, Peery was a member of the 173rd Airborne Brigade and stationed in Italy. On Sunday, Peery was shot and killed while responding to a shooting in Security-Widefield.
“I met him when he was accepted to the scout/sniper platoon where we worked alongside each other,” said Matthew Baden, a soldier who served with Peery nearly 20 years ago. “We participated together in the airborne assault into Iraq on 26 March, 2003.”
On that day Peery and Baden would jump into northern Iraq as part of Operation Northern Delay. They were two of nearly 1,000 paratroopers tasked with securing an airfield and opening a northern front of the 2003 invasion.
The airfield was secured and C-17 cargo planes began to land, off-loading logistical supplies and heavy vehicles like tanks.
“He was an exemplary soldier who always strived to serve his country with honor, and continued to serve his community in Colorado Springs,” Baden said of Peery, who is survived by his wife and two children.
Baden and Peery would earn the combat jump wings with a so-called “mustard stain” as a result of the combat jump. The “mustard stain” is a Bronze Star positioned on a paratrooper’s wings, signifying their combat service.
After Iraq, Peery continued to serve in the Army. Baden said he went on other deployments and served with the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson. A Fort Carson media representative contacted for information on Peery’s service here did not immediately respond for comment.
After his military service, Peery joined law enforcement. In March 2014, he joined the Bakersfield Police Department in California and was sworn in that August.
“He was a hero in every definition of the word,” said Sgt. Robert Pair, a Bakersfield Police Department spokesman. “His loss is absolutely felt by our community.”
Peery was a patrol officer in Bakersfield, and continued a history of service within his family. His father was a Los Angeles police officer and Kern County District Attorney’s Office investigator.
Pair said other family members continue to serve with law enforcement, but declined to elaborate further, citing concern for their privacy.
In 2016, Peery resigned his position with the Bakersfield Police Department and joined the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
“He was the type of officer you do not want to leave your organization,” Pair said. “He had a heart for service … and was extremely well liked by his peers and supervisors.”
In the shooting that resulted in Peery’s death, two other people were killed, including the shooter.
Donations can be made to Peery’s family through Chase Bank under the Hugh Martin Fallen Officers fund. This is the only officially sanctioned account or fundraiser, according to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
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