CongressHot SheetPublic SafetyThe Front Range

Sen. Cory Gardner honors slain Deputy Heath Gumm in U.S. Senate speech

Author: Joey Bunch - January 31, 2018 - Updated: February 7, 2018


Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner spoke in honor of Adams County Deputy Heath Gumm, who was killed in the line of duty on Jan. 24.

Gumm, 31, will be laid to rest on Friday at 11 a.m. at the Flatirons Community Church in Lafayette. The funeral is open to the public.

This is what the Republican lawmaker from Yuma said:

Mr. President: I rise today to speak about a horrible tragedy that occurred in Adams County, Colorado on Jan. 24.

Adams County Sheriff’s Deputy Heath Gumm was pursuing a suspect when he was shot and killed in the line of duty. Heath was 31 years old and is survived by his wife and other loving family members.

He had served with the Adams County Sheriff’s Office since 2012, which was not a surprise to those who knew him best because of his upbringing.

He grew up in a family of first responders. His father is a retired West Metro Fire Protection District engineer and his teachers and classmates that knew Heath as a student at Mullen High School in Denver were not shocked to learn he had decided to become a law enforcement officer.

As reported by the Denver Post, Heath’s ninth-grade English teacher Sean Keefe said, “By all accounts, he lived his life as a grown man as he did as a kid. He was a good guy. That didn’t change. That only got more accentuated as he grew up. He lifted his friends. He made his friends the best version of themselves, and they did that to him as well.”

And Heath’s cousin remembered him as “the kind of man you wanted out there protecting our streets. He was kind, fair, funny and friendly to everyone.”

Keefe went on to remember Heath as “someone people gravitated towards, and he was someone who people could count on.”

It’s THESE qualities that made Heath such an incredible Sheriff’s Deputy. At a press conference last Thursday, Adams County Sheriff Michael McIntosh read parts of a letter he had received from a stranded motorist Heath had recently helped while out on patrol.

The resident wrote, “Heath made the interaction enjoyable and easy to get through instead of acting like I was in trouble or a nuisance.”

Heath showed what it means to be a law enforcement officer who selflessly serves and protects a community. He went to work each and every day ready to walk that thin blue line.

When we lose an officer in Colorado I come to this chamber to honor their sacrifice and recite the words of Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman who wrote that American law enforcement is the loyal and brave sheep dog, always standing watch for the wolf that lurks in the dark.

Unfortunately, I have repeated those words in this chamber too many times.

We owe so much to Heath and law enforcement officers across Colorado and across the country for their service. Instead of fleeing to safety, they run toward danger to save lives. They provide hope and safety to our families in the worst of times.

Thank you, Heath, for answering the call. You protected your community and I, along with Coloradans across the state, are forever grateful. We will never forget your sacrifice and will always honor your memory.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.