On November 12, 1997, Officer VanderJagt was gunned down in a hail of bullets by Matthaeus Jaehnig, who was shooting at officers with a fully automatic weapon, when police responded to a burglary at Buffalo Creek, in the foothills southwest of Denver. This led to a pursuit by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department that ended at a condominium complex on Monaco Street in south Denver.
By this time, Denver Police officers had become involved. Suspect Matthaeus Jaehnig ran into an apartment yard, and from that position, he began shooting at officers with a fully automatic weapon. When Officer VanderJagt approached the yard, he was gunned down in a hail of bullets by Jaehnig. Three hours later, Jaehnig was found dead in the yard. He had committed suicide with VanderJagt's service revolver.