Aurora police officers involved in a shootout with a man who allegedly fired a rifle multiple times at a SWAT team vehicle with seven Arapahoe County Sheriff’s deputies inside it will not face any criminal charges.
In the early morning hours of July 13, 2021, Aurora officers Nicholas Wilson and Travis Brady fired at Jeffrey Mitchell Moralez, who had opened fire on a BearCat armored vehicle, which was stuck after sinking into a wet lawn, according to a police shooting review letter by the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office.
The gun exchange, part of an all-night standoff in the 4200 block of Salida Way, ended with Moralez surrendering, at about 4 a.m., and no one being shot or seriously hurt. Moralez, who was barricaded inside his residence, fired more than 60 rounds during the roughly eight-hour standoff.
“Investigators recovered sixty-four spent shell casing of varying calibers,” according to the review letter. “Investigators also recovered eight firearms, various magazines, ammunition, and a tactical vest from Mr. Moralez’s condominium.”
Police first arrived at the complex on July 12, after receiving several calls about Moralez yelling, being disruptive and confronting neighbors. A mental health-focused response team, with mental health clinicians, had responded to earlier complaints but was unable to successfully contact Moralez and resolve the calls for service, the review said.
“Mr. Moralez confronted officers, pointed weapons at officers, barricaded his home, loaded firearms, and failed to comply with law enforcement’s repeated attempts to the resolve the situation peacefully,” according to the review.
“Applying the law to the facts of this incident, as described below, I conclude that the officers were legally justified in attempting to use lethal force against Mr. Moralez,” said the review, dated Tuesday and signed by Chief Deputy District Attorney Garrik Storgaard. “The officers’ use of force was reasonable, necessary, and appropriate in order for them to defend themselves and others from the threat posed by Mr. Moralez.”
Moralez has been charged with multiple counts of attempted murder of a peace officer, first-degree assault of a peace officer, and felony menacing. His next court hearing is scheduled on Feb. 14.
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