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Jefferson County deputy cleared in Aurora shooting after ‘one in a billion’ shot

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The suspect's gun used in a shooting in Aurora in January 2016 that was disabled by a bullet.

AURORA, Colo. — A Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy involved in an off-duty shooting has been cleared after officials said he pulled of a “one in a billion” shot, the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office said.

Prosecutors in Arapahoe County said deputy Jose Marquez acted appropriately when he exchanged gunfire with attempted robbery suspects in an apartment complex parking lot in the 17300 block of East Adriatic Drive in southeast Aurora on Jan. 26.

“Deputy Marquez reasonably believed that his life was in danger and acted reasonably in shooting Meshesha, and that he used an appropriate level of physical force,” Arapahoe County Deputy District Attorney Rich Orman wrote in a letter to Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader and Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz.

“I further find that Deputy Marquez’s actions were justified and he did not violate Colorado law.”

Two armed suspects approached Marquez with their guns drawn. He was shot multiple times in the chest and abdomen before the suspects ran away. He has not returned to work.

RELATED: Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office letter clearing deputy

Marquez opened fire and wounded one of the suspects, later identified as Jhalil Meshesha, in the leg. The other suspect left the scene and has not been identified.

Another of Marquez’s bullets hit Meshesha’s gun, traveling straight down the barrel and disabling it.

“It was determined that one of the shots that Deputy Marquez fired from his .45 caliber handgun actually hit Meshesha’s .40 caliber handgun and traveled down the barrel, colliding with a cartridge that was in the chamber of the gun,” according to the letter. “Detective (Matt) Ingui described this as a ‘one in a billion thing.'”