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Man in work release program shot dead by police on a bus in Aurora

Tony Webster
CC BY-SA 4.0

A man accused of causing a disturbance at a work release program for jail inmates with mental health and substance abuse issues died after being shot by police on a public bus in suburban Denver on Sunday, police said.

No one else was injured, interim Aurora police chief Dan Oates said in a briefing after the shooting of the 35-year-old inmate, whose name has not been released yet. The man was reported to be armed with a large knife, he said.

Oates declined to say whether the man had threatened passengers on the bus, saying that would be part of the investigation of the shooting by a team led by the 17th Judicial District Attorney's Office. Officers deployed a stun gun and a dog in unsuccessful attempts to arrest the man, Oates said. Two other officers then fired their handguns at him, hitting the man, Oates said. He declined to provide more detail about what led up to the shooting, saying why the officers decided to open fire would also be part of the investigation.

An Arapahoe County Sheriff's Deputy was called to the work release program to arrest the man and take him back to jail, police said in a statement. The deputy found him on a nearby corner where he had reportedly threatened people, they said.

The deputy backed off and called Aurora police for help, Oates said. In the meantime, the man went into a convenience store across the street where police then got calls that an armed robbery had occurred, Oates said. The man crossed back across the street and boarded a bus stopped there, and officers got on and got into a confrontation with him, he said.

Oates said he did not believe there was a mental health clinician who was working at the time who could have responded.

It was the second fatal shooting involving Aurora police over the weekend. On Saturday, Aurora officers chased an SUV suspected in a robbery into Denver, used a maneuver to stop it and then fired at the driver when he threatened the officers with a long gun, acting Denver police chief Ron Thomas said. It was not known if the driver fired the gun, he said.

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