Arapahoe DA clears Aurora police officer in May shooting

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ARAPAHOE COUNTY | An Aurora police officer was justified when he shot and wounded an armed man following a chase in May, Arapahoe County prosecutors said this week.

In a letter to Aurora police Chief Nick Metz, Arapahoe County Deputy District Attorney Jason Siers said Officer Barry Gomez acted appropriately when he shot Natneal Gebretsadik in May 2016 near East Evans Avenue and South Blackhawk Street.

“The totality of the evidence leads me to conclude that Officer Gomez feared for his life when he fired his weapon,” Siers wrote.

In the letter, police said Gebretsadik was one of four people in a car that officers pulled over for having a defective taillight.

Police smelled marijuana inside the vehicle and while they searched other passengers, Gebretsadik jumped out of the car and ran away.

One of the other passengers told investigators that Gebretsadik asked him to call his mother for him, then bolted from the car.

During the ensuing chase, police said, Gebretsadik pulled out a gun and was subsequently shot in the buttocks. He survived his injuries and is facing an assault charge.

Gebretsadik’s lawyer told police that Gebretsadik had a gun but threw it away several seconds before he was shot.

Police said there investigation turned up no evidence backing that claim.