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DA Says Aurora Officer Justified In Shooting At Suspect Who Almost Ran Him Over

Aurora, CO – The Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office ruled that the Aurora police officer who shot a domestic violence suspect in July after the man almost ran him over in a 7-Eleven parking lot was “justified” in his use of force.

The incident occurred in the early morning hours of July 12 when Aurora police officers responded to a call from the ex-girlfriend of 19-year-old Jeremiah Dean, the Denver Post reported.

Officers met up with Dean’s ex-girlfriend and her friend in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven convenience store located in the 15200-block of East Hampden Avenue, according to the investigation that was conducted by the 18th Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team.

The ex-girlfriend reported that Dean had stolen her cell phone and tried to cause a car accident, according to the Denver Post.

The report released by the district attorney’s office said that Dean called the victim’s friend while the police were there, and agreed to meet with the women and possibly return the phone.

Officers moved their police vehicles so Dean wouldn’t suspect what was happening when he arrived, the Denver Post reported.

The prosecutor’s report said the officers planned to arrest Dean on suspicion of domestic-violence-related theft and violation of a protection order prohibiting him from contacting the victim.

But when Dean arrived at the 7-Eleven, he didn’t get out of his car and spoke to the victim from the window, the Denver Post reported.

When he saw officers approaching, he threw his car in reverse and tried to back out of his parking space, and almost ran over Aurora Police Officer Bryce Settles.

The report said that Officer Settles jumped out of the way and drew his weapon, the Denver Post reported.

“Officer Settles fired one round at Mr. Dean as the car briefly came to a stop next to the officer,” the report read. “The car then accelerated forward and sped out of the parking lot.”

Dean fled the scene and managed to evade law enforcement for several days, the Denver Post reported.

His vehicle was found hours after the shooting in the 3000-block of South Norfolk Street, KUSA reported.

The report said there was a bullet hole in the car door and blood on the inside of the vehicle.

Dean ultimately turned himself in at the Arapahoe County Detention Center.

He was charged with theft, reckless driving, reckless endangerment, and driving under restraint, the Denver Post reported.

Dean had a wound under his chin where he had been grazed by Officer Settles’ bullet when he arrived at the jail, according to the district attorney’s office.

“Applying the law to the facts of this incident… I conclude that Officer Settles was legally justified in attempting to use lethal force against Mr. Dean,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Clinton McKinzie wrote in the letter announcing the decision.

“The officer’s use of force was reasonable, necessary and appropriate in order for Officer Settles to defend himself and his fellow officers from the imminent threat posed by Mr. Dean,” the letter read.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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