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Vietnam vet, former federal agent fatally shot by police after he allegedly shot man breaking into his home

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AURORA, Colo. —  The man who was fatally shot by police after he allegedly shot a man breaking into his home has been identified by a family attorney as a veteran of the Vietnam War.

Attorney Siddhartha Rathod said 73-year-old Richard “Gary” Black Jr. was shot and killed by Aurora police early Monday, July 30.

Black was a former federal agent and a Purple Heart recipient, Rathod said.

Around 1:30 a.m. Monday, Aurora police responded to a report that a man had broken into a home near E. Montview Boulevard and Iola Street.

Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz said in a news release Monday that arriving officers heard gunshots and ran into Black, who lived in the home and was armed. An officer shot him and he died at a hospital.

Officers found a juvenile injured inside the home and a man shot dead on the floor of a bathroom. The child was taken to the hospital for serious, but not life-threatening injuries that were caused by the intruder, Aurora police said in Monday’s release.

Metz said Monday that Black, who was a resident of the home, is believed to have fatally shot the man who broke into the home.

Rathod said that the man who broke into the home was naked and attacked Black’s 11-year-old grandson by trying to drown the boy in a bathtub. Rathod said Black fought the man off and eventually killed Dajon Harper.

“Gary is absolutely the hero who saved his grandson’s life,” Rathod said. “His death is a tragic incident.”

Rathod said the grandson has since been released from the hospital.

In a newspaper clipping Rathod says the family provided, Black is seen being congratulated for earning the Bronze Star, Army Commendation medal and a Purple heart. The article says Black received the medals for outstanding service while serving in Vietnam with the 1st Infantry Division.

Rathod said police fired from outside the home while Black was still inside the home. The officer who shot Black is on paid administrative leave, as is standard.

Police said officers gave Black five warnings to drop his gun before one fired at him. Chief Metz said Thursday that he didn’t hear the uniformed officers identify themselves as police in body camera footage. He said they gave the orders after arriving at a chaotic scene and hearing shots inside the home.

Metz said the Vietnam veteran had a “significant hearing impairment” that may have made it hard for him to hear the orders. He said the officers didn’t have a physical description of Black or Harper, 26, the man from a party across the street accused of breaking into the home and assaulting Black’s grandson.

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