Richard "Gary" Black found his 11-year-old grandson being choked by the intruder. Black shot and killed the intruder.
When police arrived one of the officers shot and killed Black.
Reports say the officer was involved in a similar shooting a few days earlier. He was suspended with pay.
Reports say both the burglar and the police officer were black.
From armytimes.com / Noah Nash
An Army veteran who served in the Vietnam War was fatally shot by police in his home after he shot and killed a naked intruder who was attacking his grandson.
From Westword.com ▼MICHAEL ROBERTS
Richard “Gary” Black was shot to death by police in his home in Aurora, Colorado, at 1:30 a.m. Monday while holding the 9mm pistol he used to kill the intruder moments before, The Denver Post reported.
Black, a South Carolina native, served as an Army lieutenant, received a Purple Heart and was awarded a Bronze Star for his actions in the Vietnam War, the Post reported.
The 73-year-old veteran was asleep in his home when the naked intruder kicked in the door and entered the house. Black’s wife, stepson and grandson were also in the home. The intruder grabbed Black’s grandson, who was asleep on a sofa, dragged him to a bathroom, and began choking the 11-year-old in the bathtub, according to Siddhartha Rathod, an attorney for the family.
“This is a horror movie scenario,” Rathod said to the Denver Post, calling Black a hero who saved the boy’s life.
This afternoon, Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz is expected to hold a press conference about the police shooting of 73-year-old Richard "Gary" Black, who was killed while defending his family from a naked home invader identified as Dajon Harper, 26. Metz is expected to address the fact that one of the officers involved in the Black tragedy had taken part in a fatal gun-down just 34 days earlier.
But for attorney Siddhartha Rathod, whose firm, Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC, represents Black's family, "The key is that he was a hero. He should be sitting in the mayor's office getting a commendation, not in the Aurora morgue."
Rathod describes Black like so: "He's a Citadel graduate who went to the Vietnam War. He was a lieutenant and received the Bronze Star-Oak Leaf Cluster combination medal and a Purple Heart simultaneously. He then became a federal agent with the IRS, and neighbors say if someone wasn't doing well health-wise, he'd come over and mow the lawn, pull the weeds. He was that type of man."
Black and his wife, Jeanette, "were married for 39 years," Rathod goes on, "and he had three adult children and grandchildren that he loved. He put up a zipline in his back yard for his grandkids. Family was very important to him."
On Sunday night, July 29, "there had been some sort of party going on in the neighborhood," Rathod notes, "and early on Monday morning, a naked man" — Harper — "kicked in the door to the house," located at 10609 East Montview Boulevard.
At the time, just past 1 a.m. on July 30, occupants of the home included Black, his wife, one of his adult children and an eleven-year-old male grandchild who was sleeping on the couch. Seconds after gaining entry, Rathod explains, "the man grabbed the boy, dragged him into the bathroom and began choking and trying to drown him."
Richard and his son "didn't know who this guy was," he continues. "They'd never seen him before. They rushed to the bathroom and started fighting him — but the man wouldn't stop. He kept attacking the boy and smashed a vase over Mr. Black's head."
At that point, Richard "ran out of the bathroom and got his 9mm handgun" — a legal weapon with which he was very familiar since "he had been in the Army and worked as a federal agent," Rathod emphasizes. "So he got his sidearm and went back into the bathroom. And as the man kept attacking his family, he shot him twice in the chest."
Harper, who Aurora police are calling a known gang member, died from his injuries.
In the meantime, he recounts, Jeanette had "run out of the house and called 911. She told them what her husband was wearing and said the attacker was naked. She was outside when the police arrived, and she told them again, 'My husband is wearing this.'"
These precautions didn't prevent what happened next. Richard had moved from the bathroom to the living room when he was shot and killed by officers at the scene.
Was Richard mistaken for the intruder? Did the cops see him as a threat? Rathod isn't certain. "I haven't heard the officers' version, and we haven't seen the body-camera footage. We've been hearing that the police were possibly outside the house when they fired, but I don't know."
The officers who were part of the response team haven't been identified yet, which Rathod sees as "standard. But we've been told that the officer was involved in a shooting several weeks prior, and the officer has not been cleared in that shooting yet."
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