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Park County Honors Deputies, First Responders Involved In Shootout That Left Cpl. Carrigan Dead

By Matt Kroschel

FAIRPLAY, Colo. (CBS4)- It was six months timed down to the minute, to correspond to the shootout that led to the death of a Park County deputy, when several first responders received medals for bravery on Wednesday. Corporal Nate Carrigan's family was presented with a Purple Heart and Medal of Honor.

Nate Carrigan
Nate Carrigan (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.

martin wirth
Martin Wirth (credit: Facebook)

"The assailant opened fire directly on Deputy Martin and the other officers. Master Deputy Martin was immediately struck by gunfire and was seriously wounded," said Wegener.

Carrigan was killed in the shootout, along with Wirth. Two other officers were shot and injured.

"It's been hard on all of us," said Park County Sheriff Fred Wegener. "It's a time for us to... now to heal."

PARK COUNTY DEPUTY  (3)
(credit: CBS)

On Wednesday, Park County honored those involved in that horrible gun battle.

Firefighter and paramedic Ernie Walker, Captain Devon MacDonald and Assistant Chief Joe Burgett received the Meritorious Service award for their actions pulling wounded deputies from the scene that day.

Master Deputy Kolby Martin and Captain Mark Hancock each were shot several times during the shooting. Both were honored with Purple Hearts during Wednesday's ceremony.

PARK COUNTY DEPUTY  (2)
(credit: CBS)

Detective Corporal Dave Leffler received the Distinguished Service award for his role in the shooting.

PARK COUNTY DEPUTY
(credit: CBS)

The highest honor given by Wegener, the Medal of Valor, was presented to several people, including Deputy Travis Thellkel, Deputy Jeremy Lowrance, Master Deputy Kolby Martin, Detective Corporal DJ Hannigan and Captain Mark Hancock.

PARK COUNTY DEPUTY  (1)
(credit: CBS)

"Corporal Nate Carrigan it is with extreme sorrow and honor that I award this Purple Heart to your family posthumously for the heroic efforts during a tremendous firefight," said Wegener. "Corporal Nate Carrigan died a warrior's death. Thank you for your heroic and brave service to the sheriff's office."

When Carrigan's family was presented with his Purple Heart and Medal of Honor, his brother told CBS4 that his family appreciates the continued support from the community.

PARK COUNTY DEPUTY
(credit: CBS)

Matt Kroschel covers news throughout Colorado working from the CBS4 Mountain Newsroom. Send story ideas to mrkroschel@cbs.com and connect with him on Twitter @Matt_Kroschel.

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