Douglas County, Colo. sheriff’s deputy Brad Proux was making what appeared to be a routine traffic stop on the side of the highway in Littleton, Colo., not far from Denver.
But as he walked to the passenger side of the white SUV and then made his way around the back of the vehicle headed to the passenger side, the motorist burst out of the vehicle with a rifle and struck Proux, knocking him to the ground. The fast-reacting officer fired his gun twice and hit the attacker in the arm.
The man, identified as 25-year-old Deyon Marcus Rivas-Maestas, hit the pavement in front of the SUV as Proux ordered him to get down. The officer was able to get up and hold the suspect at gunpoint until backup arrived.
Deputy Steven Johnson told the Denver Post the incident is a nightmare scenario for all officers.
“I speak for every law enforcement officer: When you hear ‘Shots fired, shots fired,’ it’s the worst thing that can happen,” Johnson said. “Deputy Proux — amazing. It’s nothing more than amazing that he was able to defend himself.”
The Douglas County police released the body cam footage and said it’s a prime example of how officers are trained to react in such a situation.
“The result of this shooting is a testament to the training each of our deputies are provided,” Sheriff Tony Spurlock said. “This just shows how necessary it is for deputies to be able to make split-second decisions, not only for their own protection but for the protection of the community.”
Proux left the scene uninjured and is on administrative leave, but he has said he is ready to return to the job.
Rivas-Maestas was treated for a gunshot wound to the arm at a local hospital. He was later charged with first-degree assault and booked into the Douglas County jail.