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Deputy tries to help driver, gets rushed with assault rifle instead

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When Colorado sheriff’s deputy Brad Proulx spotted an SUV straddling the side of a road, he figured the driver needed help.

So the officer pulled over and turned on his body camera — just like his department requires anytime a deputy meets a citizen, Douglas County Chief Deputy Steve Johnson said.

Moments later, a man bolted from the SUV and swung an assault rifle at Proulx.

Though he fell to the ground, Proulx managed to fire off two shots — including one that struck the suspect in the arm.

“The deputy kept calm, kept the presence of mind,” Johnson said. Video footage captured by Proulx’s body camera shows the violent encounter.

The suspect has been identified as Deyon Marcus Rivas-Maestas, Littleton Police Chief Doug Stephens said. The 25-year-old has been charged with first-degree assault of a peace officer in the Friday attack.

Proulx, a six-year veteran of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, was not seriously hurt. And, as it turns out, the assault rifle was not loaded.

Rivas-Maestas underwent surgery for his gunshot wound.

It’s still not clear what prompted the attack, Johnson said Wednesday. The sheriff’s office lauded the deputy’s quick-thinking and his handling of the encounter.

“It’s nothing short of amazing — his reaction time, the defense of himself, the defense of the community from this individual and whatever this individual had planned,” Johnson said.

By Holly Yan and Keith Allen