The weapon associated with the January 2016 shooting of an off-duty Jefferson County sheriff's deputy is seen with a bullet lodged near the barrel. It was determined that one of the shots Deputy Marquez fired from his .45 caliber handgun actually hit Meshesha’s .40 caliber handgun and traveled down the barrel. (Courtesy 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office)

AURORA | A teenager who shot a “lucky” off-duty Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputy in January has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Senior Judge Donald W. Marshall last week sentenced Jahlil Meshesha, 17, of Aurora, to serve 20 years in a Colorado prison. Meshesha pleaded guilty in September to one count of attempted second-degree murder, a third-class felony.

Deputy Jose Marquez was shot in the shoulder and abdomen during a Jan. 26 attempted robbery in an apartment parking lot on East Adriatic Drive near Rangeview High School.  As the deputy returned fire, a bullet from his gun went right down the barrel of his shooter’s weapon, a “billion-in-one” shot, police said.

According to a news release from the 18th Judicial District, Marquez was visiting the apartment complex in Aurora when two people with handguns and masks attacked him in the parking lot. He was shot three times before returning fire and hitting Meshesha in the leg.

Meshesha and another suspect fled the scene. Mesheha was apprehended a short time later; the other suspect has not been identified, according to the DA’s office.

Following a review by the DA’s office, Arapahoe County Deputy District Attorney Rich Orman wrote a letter in July to Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader and Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz saying Marquez, who was off duty and not in uniform at the time of the robbery, acted appropriately.

“Deputy Marquez reasonably believed that his life was in danger and acted reasonably in shooting Meshesha, and that he used an appropriate level of physical force. I further find that Deputy Marquez’s actions were justified and he did not violate Colorado law,” the letter said.

Marquez is still in the process of recovering from the gunshots he received in his abdomen and shoulder, according to the latest news release.

“We will continue to treat violent juvenile offenders seriously in this jurisdiction,” said District Attorney George H. Brauchler. “Committing adult crimes gets you adult prison time. Mr. Meshesha is lucky that he was not killed in this unnecessary and malicious encounter. The victim in this case was absolutely justified in using potentially lethal force to defend himself.”

Turns out, Marquez was lucky, too. He told police he was visiting his girlfriend at her apartment Jan. 26 when he went outside to grab something from his car. As he walked back, he saw two young men with masks on their face. One of the men told him to “give it up,” Marquez said, and pulled out a pistol.

Marquez said the two men fired first and he returned fire. That’s when one of Marquez’s bullets struck Meshesha’s pistol, traveling straight down that gun’s barrel and disabling it. Police called the shot “one in a billion.”