AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — After 24 complaints about a dangerous neighbor in three weeks, residents of an Aurora neighborhood want to know why it took so long prevent problems from escalating to gunfire.
A man is accused of opening fire on police during a mental health call.
An arrest affidavit obtained by FOX31 shows “multiple calls were made to the Aurora Police Department about a male partly naked, in possession of a firearm and harassing parties” on Tuesday.
The report says when officers arrived, the suspect, Jeffrey Mitchell Moralez, came out of the residence three to four times, challenging officers.
“It is really scary to know you can be living among people who have issues this severe,” one neighbor said.
When does the red flag law apply?
The state’s “red flag” law, as its known, has been in place for more than a year and a half. It allows law enforcement or family members to request an extreme risk protection order to take guns away from someone deemed a threat.
But police say those at risk must be willing to make a formal request for protection.
“We would like to know definitely if somebody’s making a threat of violence or has access to weapons,” Sgt. John Wilton, of Aurora Police, told the Problem Solvers.
The protection order allows law enforcement to temporarily remove firearms from people determined to be an immediate threat to themselves or others. Police tell the Problem Solvers that the order must be requested by family or those living in the home and in some instances can be initiated by law enforcement, like Denver Police did when the law first went into effect in January 2020.
Police try health-focused response
Aurora Police and the Aurora Mental Health Center have formed a crisis response team consisting of mental health professionals who ride in cars with officers.
Wilton said the goal is to “do our best to deescalate that crisis. A lot of people get triggered by police officers.”
One witness who was at the scene said “they were telling him, ‘Jeffrey, come outside. We’re trying to help you.’”
Wilton says the program still needs additional funding and staffing.