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Final Report Released In Deputy's Death

By Jeff Todd

BAILEY, Colo. (CBS4) - The investigation into the death of a Park County deputy has been released by the county and shows some irregularities in what the team of eight knew before they went on a high-risk eviction.

The sheriff says he's now allowed to release the full report, which was conducted by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, because the district attorney won't file any charges from the case.

Fred Wegener
CBS4's Jeff Todd interviews Park County Sheriff Fred Wegener (credit: CBS)

On Feb. 24, a group of deputies, detectives and the sheriff gathered for the eviction of Martin Wirth. Wirth had made threats in the weeks before that he wanted to kill cops.

"Went in there to evict him from the property and they were ambushed by Martin Wirth. It shows that in that report and that my officers did nothing wrong," said Sheriff Fred Wegener.

Martin Wirth
Martin Wirth (credit: CBS)

Deceased Cpl. Nate Carrigan's family has been outspoken about the tactics used that day. Wegener says he wouldn't change anything except for getting his deputies security shields.

"Would I change how we do evictions? No. I mean I've done evictions since," Wegener told CBS4's Jeff Todd. "We had dealt with Martin Wirth. What gets lost in this entire thing is Martin Wirth had a choice: Leave.

"All he had to do was leave the residence. We arrested him two months prior, why didn't he fight? He ran away. We keep getting characterized as being the bad people. I'm sorry but we enforced a court order. It's no surprise, he knew about it. Why didn't he go to court and fight it? Why did he take the law into his own hands and shoot at my deputies?"

nate carrigan
(credit: CBS)

The reports show several Park County law enforcement members, including Carrigan, being concerned with Wirth. In his testimony to state investigators, Wegener says he didn't directly know about any threats.

"We have a dangerous job. That's why I'm so proud of the men and women of this department. They didn't turn tail and run. They did their job. And I am grateful to have them," Wegener said.

"Nate died a hero's death. That's how Nate should be remembered. Nate was murdered."

Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he's been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.


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