AURORA, Colo. — The officer who shot and killed an armed homeowner early Monday morning was the same one who killed a suspect in a shooting in June, the Aurora Police Department said Wednesday.
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.
A police spokesman confirmed the officer who opened fire at the Biltmore Motel is the same one who shot and killed 73-year-old Vietnam War veteran Richard “Gary” Black in his home at 10609 E. Montview Blvd. on Monday morning.
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 said the family is concerned the police officer returned to work so soon after shooting and killing a suspect outside the Biltmore Motel.
“Of course, had the officer been at his desk this might have been very different,” Qusair Mohamedbhai said. “It does seem to potentially be on the fast side that if an individual, officer or not, was involved in taking the life of another person you would think that it would take some time to reflect and be ready to return to duty.
“There is no good way of handling this type of tragedy and (the police department has) shown a high level of compassion, which is just appreciated.”
Another 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.
“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.
Aurora police Chief Nick Metz will hold a news conference to discuss the shooting on Thursday afternoon. You can watch it live on FOX31 at 3 p.m. or watch live streaming coverage on KDVR.com and our Facebook page.