Aurora PD: Officers attempted to use non-lethal force during fatal fight

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AURORA, Colo. -- The Aurora Police Department said its officers tried to subdue a man with non-lethal methods during a violent fight Monday night that eventually resulted in his death.

Around 6:15 p.m. Monday, officers responded to a domestic disturbance report at the 10600 block of East Jewell Avenue, which is near Jewell's intersection with South Havana Street.

APD Chief Nick Metz spoke about the incident at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. He said three officers initially responded: one man and two women.

Metz said he reviewed the footage from body cameras that all three of the officers were wearing. He said when watching the footage, one can hear screaming as officers approached the apartment home. One can also hear someone yelling for help.

When officers got inside the apartment, they found a large man "violently choking" another man, according to Metz.

The chief described the subject choking the other individual as a "very muscular" African-American man in his 30s who was 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighed about 230 lbs.

Officers deployed their Tasers to try to subdue the man, but Metz said they were ineffective.

"The Tasers had absolutely no impact on this man," the chief said.

The man then charged at and tackled the officers, and a fight ensued outside the apartment. Metz said officers repeatedly tried to subdue the man with Tasers and batons, but the man refused to comply with their demands to stop resisting.

At one point, the man allegedly grabbed the male officer's baton, starting a "tug of war" over the weapon between him and the officer. He also tried to grab an officer's Taser.

The man then choked the male officer, according to Metz.

The fight lasted roughly seven minutes.

"This was one of the most violent altercations I have seen in my career," said Metz, who has been in law enforcement for about 35 years.

One officer was able to call for help, and other Aurora police personnel began driving to the scene.

As more officers were arriving, police were able to get the man on the ground and in handcuffs. At this point, Metz said the officers noticed the man was unresponsive. They then began to perform CPR.

Aurora's fire department responded and began treating the man. He was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

APD said it was unable to share more specific information because the investigation is active.

The Arapahoe County coroner will determine the cause of death.

18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler said that while Metz was not legally required to contact him, he did so anyway as he would be required to do if the situation had been an officer-involved shooting. Brauchler agreed that the fight was particularly violent.

Two officers -- one man and one woman -- were taken to a hospital with injuries that are not life-threatening.

The officers involved in the fight are on paid administrative leave per department policy. The male officer and one of the female officers joined APD in June 2017. The other female officer joined in February 2016.

Neighbor Neigh Neigh Lee said she was home when police responded. She told FOX31 that there was "a lot of commotion," adding that violence is not uncommon in the area.

"One day, we have got to move... just too much right here," Lee said.

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