Aurora police chief acknowledges shooting death of armed homeowner by officer

AURORA, Colo. — Aurora police Chief Nick Metz took to YouTube on Wednesday to address the officer-involved shooting that killed an armed homeowner early Monday.

The Aurora Police Department said officers arrived to 10609 E. Montview Blvd. shortly after 1:30 a.m. Monday and heard shots fired from inside the home and encountered an armed man.

Police shot the man, who later turned out to be the resident. The homeowner, 73-year-old Vietnam War veteran Richard “Gary” Black, was taken to a hospital with gunshot wounds where he later died.

Richard ‘Gary’ Black

When police went inside the home, they found the intruder, who was dead on a bathroom floor. Police said the intruder was fatally shot by Black.

Authorities also found a juvenile, who was taken to a hospital for serious, but nonlife-threatening injuries caused by the deceased intruder, identified as as 26-year-old Dajon Harper of Aurora, police said.

In the video address, Metz acknowledged the shooting death of 73-year-old Vietnam War veteran Richard “Gary” Black at his home.

Metz also said the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office has asked the police force “not provide information until certain aspects of the investigation are complete.”

Mezt said he is “incredibly frustrated” with not being able to share information about the shooting in a more timely manner.

He said that information spread on social media “has been inaccurate.”

Metz said the department has the information regarding the shooting death of Black and the department looks forward to sharing those findings.

Metz said police will hold a news conference on Thursday afternoon to provide information and answer questions. He also said the situation is “heartbreaking” and asks for the public’s patience.

The officer who shot and killed Black also killed a suspect in a shooting in June, police said.

The officer, who has not been identified because of threats that reportedly have been received, was placed on desk duty after the shooting at the Biltmore Motel at 8900 E. Colfax Ave.

Three officers pursued a suspect after arriving to a report of shots fired at the motel about 12:30 a.m. on June 27.

As officers rounded the corner of a building, they came face to face with the suspect. They told him to drop his gun.

One officer then shot the suspect, who was taken to a hospital where he was later pronounced dead. He was later identified as 39-year-old Joey Bronson.

Officers are routinely placed on paid administrative leave after shootings. But it’s up to each department to decide when an officer can return to duty.

The officer returned to duty on July 15, 18 days after the Biltmore shooting.

The department did not have to wait for a clearance letter from the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office to allow the officer to return to regular duty.

An attorney for the family said Tuesday that Black, his wife, their adult son and grandson were inside the home when a naked man kicked down the door.

Siddhartha Rathod said the man began assaulting Black’s 11-year-old grandson, who was sleeping on the couch.

“The man grabs the 11-year-old … starts choking him and drags him into the bathroom trying to drown him and choke him in the bathroom,” Rathod said.

The family said Black struggled with the man, trying to pull him away as Black’s wife called 911.

Richard Black

“Calls police, tells the police, ‘My husband is wearing this. My son is wearing this. There’s a naked intruder,’” Rathod said. “Describes the intruder.”

Black grabbed his 9 millimeter gun and shot the intruder twice, Rathod said.

The family said other intruders got into the house. Black, looking for other intruders, then walked into his living room where he was shot by police, Rathod said.

It is unclear if police were inside or outside the house when the officer opened fire.

Black was a U.S. Army lieutenant in the Vietnam War and was honored with the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He also was a federal agent for the IRS, Rathod said.

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