Aurora officer justified in shooting at 19-year-old driver during domestic violence investigation, DA rules The Denver Post

The 18th Judicial District determined an Aurora police officer was justified in shooting at a 19-year-old during a July investigation of an alleged domestic violence and theft incident, the district attorney’s office said in a Tuesday report.

On July 12, Aurora police were investigating an early morning report alleging Jeremiah Dean, 19, had stolen his ex-girlfriend’s cellphone and tried to cause a car accident, the report said. Three APD officers met Dean’s ex-girlfriend and a friend in a 7-Eleven parking lot at 15296 E. Hampden Ave.

Dean called the victim’s friend while they were talking with police and agreed to meet at the 7-Eleven and potentially return the stolen phone, the report read. The police moved their cars so Dean would not see the officers, intending to arrest Dean on suspicion of domestic-violence-related theft and violation of a protection order prohibiting him from contacting the victim, the report said.

When Dean arrived at the convenience store, he spoke to the victim without getting out of the car, the report said. Police began approaching Dean, who reversed his car out of the parking space once he saw the officers. Dean nearly struck Officer Bryce Settles, who jumped out of the way and drew his gun, the report said.

“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 and the vehicle weren’t located immediately, but he turned himself in at the Arapahoe County Detention Center several days later and had a wound under his chin where Settles’ bullet grazed him, the report read.

“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. “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.”

Dean has been charged with theft, reckless driving and reckless endangerment in connection with the incident, the report read.

The investigation into the shooting  was conducted by the 18th Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team.

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