- A war veteran shot a naked intruder who tried to strangle and drown his grandson in the bathtub
- 911 calls described the veteran and his stepson as white men and the naked intruder as a black man
- Police arrived on the scene and shot the veteran when they found him armed in his own home
Colorado police shot and killed a decorated Vietnam War veteran in his home after he killed a naked intruder who tried to strangle his grandson.
Richard Black, 73, awoke Monday to find that a naked intruder had broken through his door and was trying to strangle his 11-year-old grandson. Black and his stepson attempted to wrest the man off of the boy but, after failing to separate them, Black retrieved his 9mm handgun and shot the man twice in the chest. Aurora police, responding to several 911 calls, then arrived on the scene and reportedly shot and killed Black in his own home. (RELATED: Bodycam Footage Of LAPD Hostage Shooting Released)
“Mr. Black did everything right. His actions saved his grandson’s life. He should be in the mayor’s office getting a commendation for his heroism. Instead he’s in the morgue,” said attorney Siddhartha H. Rathod, according to The Associated Press.
Black’s wife, Jeanette, had called the police during the altercation and described the intruder to authorities as a black man and her husband and son as white men, so as to avoid confusion.
Police described the incident from their perspective and said that officers responded to a 911 call saying that an intruder was breaking into the house. They arrived to a “very chaotic and violent scene” and upon entering the house “encountered an armed male.” They shot first and asked questions later, determining afterward that the armed male was the homeowner.
Police subsequently found the grandson in the bathroom with severe injuries along with the body of the intruder. The boy is expected to make a full recovery.
Rathod said the intruder, who has not yet been identified, was partying at another house before he ran across a five lane road, entered Black’s house, attempted to choke the grandson and then carried the boy into the bathroom where he tried to drown him in the bathtub. Black and his stepson wrestled with the man, broke a vase over his head and even jabbed his eyes, but nothing fazed him. That’s when Black shot him.
Police Chief Nick Metz expressed frustration over not being able to release more details concerning the incident, including 911 calls and body camera footage, but also gave his condolences to the Black family.
“This has been a very tragic situation and a very heartbreaking situation for everyone involved, and our hearts go out to the Black family,” Metz said.
Neighbors of the Blacks said that crime is a major problem in the neighborhood, with shootings, drug related incidents and robberies happening frequently. Many of them applauded Black’s swift action, saying they would do the same to defend their own families.
Mike Montgomery, a retired Marine and neighbor of the Blacks, said that owning a gun in the neighborhood was a necessity and that he too believed that Black had done the right thing.
“He was put in a bad situation, a situation he shouldn’t have been put into. Nobody should,” Montgomery said.
Police are conducting an investigation into the killing of Black. The officer who shot him has been placed on administrative leave with pay.
Black was a graduate of The Citadel. He served in the Vietnam War as a lieutenant in the Army and earned a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. He later worked as an agent for the Internal Revenue Service and a public accountant in Colorado. He is survived by a wife as well as three children and several grandchildren who frequently visited.
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