AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) – An Aurora man was taken into custody Tuesday morning after an all-night standoff during which he shot at officers multiple times and left a fake explosive device in his home that police found after they arrested him.
The incident, which started around 7:30 p.m. Monday with police responding to a welfare check call, prompted two shelter-in-place orders for those near 4283 S. Salida Way.
The first shelter-in-place alert was sent to nearby residents around 4 a.m. when 42-year-old Jeffrey Mitchell Moralez allegedly began firing shots at first responders.
“We were behind the police officers so when he was shooting out, the direction he was shooting was towards us,” Thomas Meadows, a resident of a complex nearby, said. “I was thinking, if bullets were just to ricochet and go any way, it was definitely possible it could come up to my unit.”
Two Aurora police officers returned fire. Neither hit Moralez with a bullet, but he did suffer minor injuries from shrapnel.
Moralez surrendered and was taken into custody around 4:40 a.m., and no one else was injured.
Then, around 5:05 a.m., a second shelter-in-place was issued when authorities found a suspicious device inside Moralez’s home. That device was determined to be a hoax device made to look like a bomb.
Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson said Tuesday at a 10 a.m. press conference that authorities have had contact with Moralez 24 times since June 24, responding to many mental health crisis reports.
At one point, Moralez was put on a mental health hold.
Officers brought in a mental health professional to speak with Moralez Monday night, but he refused to speak with anyone.
“Negotiators had been trying to talk to him on the phone. He would continually hang up. We were trying to do everything we could to end this peacefully,” Wilson said.
Wilson also said neighbors and the HOA at Moralez’s building had been growing concerned about his recent behavior.
Moralez will face charges, including attempted murder for shooting at police officers, according to the police chief.
Officers and SWAT used a BearCat vehicle during the incident. The vehicle got stuck in the mud, and the windshield was starting to give way, according to Wilson.
“Thank God it did not give, otherwise we would have had a tragedy on our hands,” Wilson said.
The two officers who fired at Moralez have been placed on leave in accordance with APD policy. A Critical Incident Response Team for the 18th Judicial District will investigate their actions and determine if they followed proper protocol and laws.