CHEYENNE – A former Rawlins attorney and University of Wyoming College of Law graduate was being investigated by UW law enforcement after making threatening posts on social media in the months leading up to a deadly attack in a Denver suburb over the weekend.
Matthew Riehl, 37, was identified Sunday as the gunman who killed Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Zackari Parrish and injured four other law enforcement officers and two civilians in an attack at an apartment complex Saturday in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.
Riehl was being investigated by law enforcement in Laramie after making threats to the law school on social media, according to UW spokesman Chad Baldwin.
An email sent Nov. 6 by UW Assistant Dean Lindsay Hoyt to law school faculty and staff stated that someone reported Riehl to the campus police department “for posting rambling, nonsensical messages on his Facebook page.”
“He has made it known in some of these postings that he is no friend of the law school,” the email states.
The message includes photos of Riehl and his red Ford “Foxbody”
A similar email was sent to students the same day, asking them to notify police if they saw Riehl or his Mustang.
Campus police bolstered security at the College of Law building during the time Riehl was making the threats, Baldwin said.
In a Facebook Live video on Riehl’s page dated Dec. 6, he ranted about the law school and its “stupidity,” “fascism” and “hypnosis.”
“You go to this law school and it’s total nonsense,” he said. “It’s idiots chanting.”
Wyoming Rep. Charles Pelkey, D-Laramie, attended law school
He said the two were acquaintances and kept in contact over the years. Pelkey occasionally referred clients to Riehl in Rawlins because Pelkey’s law firm didn’t have a strong presence there, he said.
But the two had a falling out recently on Facebook when Riehl began insulting Pelkey’s friends on a post objecting to President Donald Trump’s proposal to ban transgender people from serving in the military.
“… like anyone, he had a right to his opinion, but more than just disagreeing, his posts got more heated, vitriolic and insulting,” Pelkey wrote in a Facebook post Sunday.
But the two got along relatively well in the years before that, Pelkey said.
“He was just kind of one of the odd ducks in law school, but law school puts a lot of pressure on people,” Pelkey said in an interview. “I would never have suspected that level of violence.”
Riehl was admitted to the Wyoming State Bar in May 2011 and requested to withdraw his membership in October 2016, according to Wyoming State Bar Executive Director Sharon Wilkinson.
There was no record on the Wyoming Supreme Court’s website of any sanctions or suspensions against him during the time he was practicing in Wyoming.
Riehl was also a member of the Wyoming National Guard from 2006-2012 and was deployed to Iraq in 2009. He was honorably discharged in 2012, according to Diedre Forster, a spokeswoman for the Wyoming National Guard.
According to news releases from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, dispatchers received a call at 3 a.m. Sunday regarding a domestic disturbance between two men.
One of the men said the other was acting “bizarre” and may be having a “mental breakdown,” according to the release.
Deputies cleared the scene by 3:44 a.m. and were called back at 5:17 a.m.
One man gave the officers a key to the apartment and permission to go inside.
At 5:56 a.m., four officers were hit by rifle rounds from a bedroom, according to the release.
Three deputies were able to get to safety, but the fourth, Parrish, was caught in the gunfire.
A SWAT team entered the apartment at about 7:30 a.m., where the suspect was waiting with
Riehl was shot and killed, and a SWAT officer was injured.
Authorities believed that Riehl had shot more than 100 rounds from his rifle, according to