'Hero' Killed by Cops Got 5 Warnings Over 13 Seconds

But the scene was noisy and chaotic, and Richard Black's family says his hearing wasn't good
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2018 12:35 PM CDT
'Hero' Killed by Cops May Have Missed Their Warnings
This undated photo provided by the Black family's attorney shows Richard Black, who was shot and killed by police in Aurora, Colo., on Monday after he killed an intruder in his home.   (Black Family Photo via AP)

Officers repeatedly instructed Richard "Gary" Black to drop his weapon and show his hands after arriving at his Colorado home in the early hours of Monday morning. The request was made five times over a period the Denver Post reports was 13 seconds. When he didn't, but instead raised the flashlight he was holding in his other hand, an officer fired at him, killing the 73-year-old. The Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient had only moments earlier shot and killed a man who'd broken into his home and was attacking his 11-year-old grandson. But in a Thursday press conference, Aurora Police Chief Nicholas Metz revealed that investigators have since learned Black had "a significant hearing impairment" as a result of his military days. "I don't know what he was able to hear and not hear," ABC News quotes Metz as saying. The Post adds the scene was also a noisy one, filled with screams. The latest:

  • There was bodycam video, but Metz says neither that nor audio of the 911 call will be released at this time, citing "an issue with clarity regarding some of the recordings," as KDVR puts it. That move is in line with the Black family's wishes. Per a letter read by Metz, "the family desires space to grieve and does not wish to have the family in violent moments of Gary's distinguished life be his public legacy." But ABC suggests the footage will eventually be released, with Metz saying, "We are supportive of releasing it."

  • But NBC News reports Metz did watch the video and shared his reaction to it: "It was heartbreaking. It is very horrific to watch, not just from the standpoint of watching a man who saved his family get shot, but also knowing what that little boy was subjected to."
  • As for the little boy, police say he was attacked by Dajon Harper, 26, who'd apparently been at a house party across the street. Metz says around 1:30am the 911 calls began coming in, with one describing Harper as "out of control," reports ABC. Metz says he'd been damaging cars and then ran to the Blacks' house, where he banged on the door with such force it came off his hinges. Partygoers apparently followed him into the house but apparently couldn't stop him from taking the child.
  • NBC reports Harper locked himself in a bathroom with the boy. Metz limited the description of what occurred to saying the boy was "violently assaulted." Black's stepson, who previously described the attack, said Black "lived a hero, he died a hero," per the New York Times. "We'd all be dead if it wasn't for him." Metz backed up that assertion, per CBS Denver. "Mr. Black saved his family's life that night. There is no doubt that he did everything he could to protect everything that was important to him and that was his family."
(More police shooting stories.)

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