Detective Daniel Brite

(Douglas County Sheriff's Office, CO)

On September 2, 2016, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office received a call about a suicidal subject. His spouse reported that he was very drunk, was armed with a loaded pistol, and had threatened to kill whoever tried to stop him. It was quickly determined that the Sheriff's Office had prior contact with this individual, which prompted a hazard notation to be associated with his residence. The subject had made previous threats that if the police were to respond to his residence in the future, there would be a firefight. Additional information was provided that in addition to the pistol, the subject was also armed with an AK-47 rifle, had a gun room in his basement, and had access to two vehicles.

The subject's residence was located nearly adjacent to a middle school, and the 911 call came in shortly before the school was ready to discharge for the weekend. Detective Daniel Brite, along with other Douglas County deputies, officers from the neighboring city, school resource officers, and officers from the multi-agency impact unit, all responded to the call. Concern was immediately raised about the nearby middle school students, as well as the students in the elementary school, which was also nearby. At the time the deputies and officers arrived, parents and school busses were already lining up in the school's driveways and roads approaching the schools.

Officers established a perimeter around the residence and were able to observe the subject as he moved ammo cans and rifles from his residence to his garage-barn structure, where presumably his vehicles were parked. The subject then fired a random, unprovoked gunshot, and subsequently drove his motorhome from the garage and headed in the direction of the school. By this point, officers on the scene had already established a roadblock around the property.

Upon seeing the roadblock, the subject changed direction and drove back toward his residence. In response to this action and being mindful of the reports of an arsenal in the basement of the residence, the on-scene supervisor directed officers to converge on the motorhome in order to prevent the subject from reentering the residence. Detective Brite, along with additional deputies and officers, followed the motorhome and blocked access to the residence. They were immediately fired upon from within the motorhome. During this barrage, Detective Brite suffered a severe gunshot wound. The 30 caliber bullet fired from the subject's AK-47 entered Detective Brite's thoracic cavity after passing though his protective armor. Although grievously wounded, Detective Brite continued to fight back, returning fire up until the point where he lost consciousness.

Detective Brite was rushed to the local hospital, where he received life-saving care. He remains a paraplegic due to the injuries he suffered at the hands of the gunman. The gunman was killed during the exchange of gunfire, shortly after wounding Detective Brite.

The actions of Detective Brite demonstrated extraordinary bravery, decisiveness, and a willingness to protect the lives of others, without regard to his own personal safety.

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