Aurora police in Colorado fatally shot an Army veteran and grandfather after that man shot and killed a home invasion suspect earlier this week.
Violent Home Invasion
Siddhartha Rathod, an attorney for the family of 73-year-old Richard “Gary” Black, tells the The Denver Post that Black, his wife Jeanette, his stepson and his grandson were all asleep at around 1:30 a.m. when a naked man suddenly kicked in the front door of their home in East Montview Boulevard in Aurora.
The home invader grabbed Black’s grandson and proceeded to choke him. He then took him to the bathroom and tried to drown him in the bathtub, Rathod claims.
Black and his stepson rushed to the boy’s defense and started fighting with the intruder. At one point, they hit the intruder over the head with a vase, but he kept attacking the grandson.
That’s when Black, who has a valid Colorado concealed carry permit, ran and grabbed a 9mm handgun. He opened fire on the intruder, killing him.
Aurora Police Shoot Homeowner
Black’s stepson was comforting the grandson in the bathroom while his wife was outside talking to Aurora police when additional shots rang out. Black, who had been standing in the living room, was shot by an Aurora police officer.
Black was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The intruder was discovered dead on the bathroom floor. Black’s grandson was hospitalized for serious, non-life-threatening injuries. Jeanette was also sent to the hospital after she re-injured a wound from an old illness, the Post reported.
At this point, the details of what prompted Aurora police to shoot Black are unknown. A statement on the Aurora Police Department’s website says officers arrived to a “very chaotic and violent scene” and heard gunshots from inside the home. They then encountered an “armed adult male”—Black—at which point an officer discharged his gun, shooting the man.
Aurora police said they’re investigating the shooting. ABC News says the officer who pulled the trigger has been placed on paid administrative leave, per department policy. No further details regarding the investigation will be released, in an effort to preserve its “integrity.”
“This incident was not only tragic, but incredibly heartbreaking for the involved family, the community, and our Department,” Aurora Police Department Chief Nick Metz said. “This makes it even more difficult in not being able to provide information at this time as we are committed to being transparent and sharing information as soon as possible after a critical incident.
“That said, we also have a responsibility and obligation to ensure a thorough and credible investigation. The integrity of any investigation is paramount to promoting community and legal confidence; an investigation that can withstand scrutiny.”
According to the Denver Post, Black was a lieutenant in the Army and fought in the Vietnam War. He was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his service. After the war, he became an agent for the Internal Revenue Service. He was also a CPA in Colorado.
“He was a wonderful family man who loved spending time with his grandchildren and caring for his garden,” said Black’s half-sister, Elisa Black-Taylor. “I’ve chatted with his daughter, and she says he saved his family when an intruder broke into his home. He will be remembered as a hero, both for his service to his country as well as to the family who loved him.”