NewsNational News


Man killed by Aurora police was a Purple Heart recipient

Posted at 12:20 PM, Aug 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-01 15:21:16-04

An Army veteran who fired on an intruder in his Colorado home was fatally shot by a police officer responding to the scene, authorities said.

The Aurora Police Department said officers arrived to a "very chaotic and violent" scene early Monday around 1:30 a.m. as they were responding to multiple 911 calls about a disturbance in the area of North Iola Street and East Montview Boulevard.

In a post on the department's website, Police Chief Nick Metz said the dispatch center also had gotten a 911 call from a woman inside a home on East Montview Boulevard that a man "was breaking into her home."

When officers arrived, Metz said, they heard gunshots being fired inside the home and encountered an armed man.

"An officer discharged his firearm striking the armed male, who was transported to the hospital," Metz said. "Inside, officers found an injured juvenile and the deceased adult male intruder on the bathroom floor."

Metz said the armed man died at the hospital. The juvenile was taken to a hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

Metz said the injuries had been caused by the intruder.

"Further investigation revealed the armed male encountered by the officer was a resident of the home," Metz said in the statement. "Our preliminary investigation has revealed the deceased intruder on the bathroom floor was fatally shot by the armed adult male resident."

He said the names of the victims as well as the alleged intruder would be released by the Adams County Coroner's Office.

The armed man, however, was identified as Richard "Gary" Black Jr. by Siddhartha Rathod, a lawyer representing his family's estate.

Rathod told ABC News "a naked man kicked down the door to the house, entered the house, and was found choking Black Jr.'s 11-year-old grandson," strangling the boy in the bathtub.

That boy's father, Black's stepson, went in and began wrestling with the naked man. Both he and Black were trying to save the boy.

"Mr. Black goes and gets his sidearm and shoots the intruder and saves his grandson," Rathod said. "Mr. Black walks out of the bathroom to see other individuals who had also come in the home. Black's wife had called the police and ran outside. She specifically told the police what her husband was wearing and there was a naked man attacking her grandson. Mr. Black walks out and is shot by police."

According to the lawyer, Black left the Army and became a federal agent. Prior to that, he was awarded a Bronze Star, with the first oak leaf cluster, an Army Combination Medal and a Purple Heart.

Rathod said Black received all commendations for his service in the First Infantry Division simultaneously while at an Army hospital during the Vietnam War.

Black was a member of the Citadel Class of 1966, according to Kim Keeler of the Citadel's media relations.

"This is a very heartbreaking and tragic situation for everyone involved," said Metz, the Aurora police chief. "We are providing assistance through our victim advocates to help the family of the deceased resident through this very difficult time."

The officer involved was placed on administrative reassignment with pay, per the department's policy. The police department said it would be holding a news conference later this week to give more information about the incident.

The Aurora Police Major Crimes Unit as well as the Denver Police Department and the 17th Judicial District DA's Office are handling the investigation into the incident.

The 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office said the facts of the investigation would be presented to the Office of the District Attorney for a determination of whether criminal charges should be filed against any involved person.

"In an effort to preserve this ongoing investigation, the Office of the District Attorney has requested that the Aurora Police Department not release any additional details at this time," the office said in a statement.