DENVER (AP) - Prosecutors say a police officer will not face charges for the death of a homeowner who had just killed an intruder inside his suburban Denver home.
Adams County District Attorney Dave Young released his decision Monday, writing that body camera footage shows police repeatedly telling Richard "Gary" Black to drop his weapon before an officer fired.
Police later learned that Black, a 73-year-old Vietnam War veteran, was defending his grandson from an intruder beating the child.
The letter says police arriving at the house heard shots then saw Black emerging from a hallway holding a handgun and a flashlight.
Camera footage showed Black coming toward officers, raising the flashlight, and Aurora Police Officer Drew Limbaugh firing three times.
Police have said Black had hearing impairment due to his military service.
WARNING: Graphic footage below. Released by Aurora Police after consulting with the family. Read a statement from police below the video.
"On July 30, 2018, Aurora Police officers were involved in a tragic incident where Richard “Gary” Black was shot by police. Officers responded to reports of an intruder attacking a child. The officers approached Mr. Black’s home upon hearing shots fired from inside. Officers then saw a man with a gun and a flashlight in hand. For reasons unknown to those officers, the man did not respond to commands to drop the weapon and an officer shot him. At the time, the officers did not know the man was Mr. Black and he had just shot the intruder who was viciously attacking his grandson.
The case was referred to the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s office, who issued a “declination” letter earlier today, which can be found here. The District Attorney has determined the evidence in this case does not support the filing of any criminal charges against the officer in discharging his weapon in the fatal shooting.
We understand the public’s interest in this tragic case. The Department weighs this along with its responsibility to protect the child victim, as well as the family’s privacy interests. In consult with the family, we are sharing a mutually-agreeable portion of the involved officer’s body-worn-camera in this chaotic incident.
The officer who shot Mr. Black currently remains in a non-enforcement role. With the release of the DA’s declination letter, an internal investigation will begin.
This was a heartbreaking and tragic incident. Our thoughts and prayers remain with Mr. Black’s family and those involved."