Corporal Nate Carrigan, a 13-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, was fatally wounded and two other officers were shot. Police said they returned fire, shooting and killing Wirth.
Kolby Martin, a master patrol deputy who has been with the sheriff’s office for more than a decade, was shot “multiple times” in his lower extremities and air-lifted to a hospital in Denver. Authorities said he had life-threatening injuries. Capt. Mark Hancock, a 21-year veteran of the office, was shot in the ear and brought to the same hospital in an ambulance.
The sheriff’s office said its officers arrived at the rural home in Bailey, about 45 miles southwest of downtown Denver, shortly before 9:50 a.m.
Sheriff Fred Wegener had gotten to the scene when Wirth came out on his deck and returned inside. When officers tried to follow him inside, he fired at them, the sheriff’s office said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Corporal Carrigan’s family and friends at this time,” the Park County Sheriff’s Office said in the statement.
Wirth was a community activist who had railed against the foreclosure crisis and had been a vocal leader in the Occupy Denver movement, the Denver Post reported.
The home’s owner was listed as the Federal National Mortgage Association, better known as Fannie Mae, according to the Park County Assessor’s Office.
A spokeswoman for the Colorado Bureau of Investigations said the state agency sent a crime-scene response team and agents to the scene to help. Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms also responded to the shooting, federal officials said.
After the shooting, the Jefferson County sheriff’s office said it dispatched a bomb squad and a SWAT team to the area, but police described this as precautionary and said there was no lingering danger. Park County said its emergency operations center had also been activated.
Carrigan is the 10th law enforcement officer fatally shot so far this year, according to groups that track line-of-duty deaths.
Before Wednesday, the most recent officer killed was Lee Tartt, a Mississippi state narcotics agent fatally shot Friday night after a home standoff became violent.
The number so far this year dramatically outpaces the number of officers killed at the same point in 2015, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a nonprofit that monitors such deaths.
Last year, the first officer killed by gunfire was John Gorman, director of investigations for the Mississippi Gaming Commission, who was accidentally killed during a training exercise in January 2015. The first officer shot and killed by a suspect in 2015 was Terence A. Green, who was killed in early March in Georgia.
[This story has been updated. First published: 2:06 p.m.]