Report: Aurora officer justified in killing suspect in June motel shooting

AURORA, Colo. — The 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office said the officer who shot and killed a suspect at an Aurora motel in June was justified in doing so, according to a statement released Wednesday.

The DA’s office said the incident began shortly before 12:30 a.m. on June 27 at the Biltmore Motel on East Colfax Avenue near the border of Denver and Aurora.

At that time, the DA’s office believes Joey Bronson pulled a handgun from his waistband and fired two rounds, apparently into the air.

About 20 minutes later, Aurora Police Department officers arrived at the scene.

The DA’s office said Bronson was armed with a .380 handgun when officers — including officer Drew Limbaugh — confronted him.

It also said Bronson matched descriptions of the man firing a gun provided by witnesses.

“When confronted by police, Joey Bronson ran away with a gun in his hand. Three officers each saw the gun in Joey Bronson’s hand: Officers Limbaugh, Foley, and Tubbs. Officers Limbaugh and Foley got out of their patrol car and quickly chased Joey Bronson on foot, giving at least three loud, forceful orders to ‘drop the gun’,” the DA’s report said.

Bronson did not drop the gun and ran into a secluded corner of the motel courtyard. Bronson then tried to shoot Limbaugh, but could not because of a malfunction with the gun, according to the DA’s office.

“Officer Limbaugh only fired his gun at Joey Bronson while Joey Bronson was pointing his gun at Officer Limbaugh, and after Officers Limbaugh and Foley ordered him at least three times to drop the gun. Officer Limbaugh was justifiably in fear for his life and the lives of his fellow officers when he shot Joey Bronson,” the DA’s office said.

Limbaugh “was legally justified in his use of deadly physical force to defend himself and other officers from the threat posed by Joey Bronson on June 27, 2018.”

Bronson died after being taken to a hospital.

Because of determination, Limbaugh will not face charges related to the incident.

The report was based on witness accounts and 400 pages of reports from Aurora and Denver police officers. It was also based on footage from surveillance cameras and body cameras worn by 20 officers.

Aurora police previously said Limbaugh was the same officer who shot and killed an armed homeowner defending his grandson against an intruder on July 30, although the department did not identify Limbaugh at the time.

Limbaugh has been with Aurora police since June 2015.

He previously spent four years in active duty in the U.S. Army, where he was assigned to an infantry unit and worked as a sniper, according to the report.

Limbaugh also attended college for four years before beginning his law enforcement career.

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