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Shoe prints led police to Adams Co. deputy murder suspect in tree house

Police say shoe prints and descriptions from neighbors helped catch the suspect charged with murder in the fatal shooting of an Adams County deputy earlier this month.

According to the arrest affidavit, Dreion Dearing, who is currently in custody on murder and burglary charges with no bond, was found in a tree house a block away from where Adams County Deputy Heath Gumm was shot in the torso.

The affidavit says police were called to the 8700 block of Dawson Street for a disturbance involving two males and a female. A deputy contacted one person who was determined to not be part of the assault, but Gumm attempted to contact another person and had to start a foot pursuit on Edison Street.

The other deputy joined Gumm in chasing the suspect through a backyard in the 8600 block of Edison Street. The suspect was described in the affidavit as a black man in a black hoodie with dark pants and turquoise underwear sticking out. As Gumm jumped a fence, he said the suspect was reaching for something in his waistband.

The deputy lost sight of the suspect at the north end of the property but he heard Gumm say, “Police, stop running, don’t be stupid.”

Gumm then moved toward a shed on the northeast side of the property when the deputy saw muzzle flashes come from the north side where the suspect was last seen. Gumm returned fire with multiple rounds. The deputy also began to fire before his weapon malfunctioned. When his gun became operational, he saw the suspect was gone and he called out for Gumm.

But he didn’t get a response, and the deputy found Gumm lying face down with a gunshot to the torso.
Detectives arrived at the area and spoke with neighbors, who reported hearing the gunshots and seeing a man wearing all black who ran across the street near a camper. Another neighbor gave a similar description of the incident.

Detectives and a K-9 unit then found footprints leading from the area where Gumm was shot. The footprints led to a tree house in a backyard, and when police tried to open the door, they noted it was being blocked by someone on the inside.

Police were able to get the man out of the tree house, and he was identified as Dearing. He was also wearing a black hoodie and black jeans with bright blue shorts sticking out of the top. He also wore Nike shoes that matched the size and pattern of the footprints found at the scene.

Dearing spoke with police and admitted to drinking a six pack of beer and smoking two blunts in a period of about two to three hours. He said he wasn’t familiar with Adams County and that he had fallen asleep in the back of his friend’s car after getting sick from the alcohol.

Dearing said the next thing he remembered was being contacted by police. He said he didn’t know what happened to his phone, but police said it was found on the snow in front of a house near where Gumm was shot.

Police also found a .45 caliber handgun underneath the camper where a neighbor described seeing the suspect. Shell casings matching the caliber were found where Gumm was shot. Police said the deputies’ guns were .40 caliber.

The affidavit says police asked Dearing for a DNA sample, and Dearing asked what it was for. Police told him he matched the description of the suspect who shot Gumm, but Dearing repeatedly said he didn’t know what police were talking about.

Police said they found a beanie at the crime scene and that a DNA sample would clear him if he wasn’t involved. Dearing declined to provide his DNA sample.

Dearing was in court Wednesday and was officially charged with murder of a peace officer, two more counts of murder, burglary, and assault.

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