Police Kill Home Defender, Mistaking Him For Intruder

Mistakes happen. No matter what else goes on in this world, mistakes will continue to happen. Humanity is flawed, and we’ll never be perfect. That’s okay, though. We weren’t meant to be.

But that’s small comfort to those who are part of mistakes that cost people their lives. It’s especially tragic when the mistake results in a good guy killing another good guy.

An Aurora man reportedly fending off an attacker inside his home and then shot by police arriving on the scene was a decorated Vietnam vet, family members have revealed to Denver TV stations.

An attorney for the family told Channel 7 news in Denver that police shot to death Richard Black, Jr. after they entered the house during a chaotic scene.

The incident started around 1:30 a.m. Monday when police received multiple calls about a break in at a home near Iola Street and East Montview Boulevard.

Police said when they arrived the scene was “chaotic and violent” and officers heard gunshots from inside the home at 10609 E. Montview Blvd.

Officers then encountered an armed man and an officer shot the man, killing him, police said.

Police then searched the house and found a second man dead inside and a child suffering serious injuries. The child was taken to an area hospital and is expected to survive, police said.

Siddhartha Rathod, an attorney for Black’s family, told 7News the intruder was naked and trying to drown Black’s 11-year-old grandson in a bathtub. Black shot and killed the intruder, he said.

Just after that, police shot and killed Black during the melee. Details of how that happened have not been released.

There’s just no account of this that isn’t tragic.

While we don’t know the specifics of how something like this can happen, there are a few things we should all keep in mind.

First, when involved in an encounter, caution when dealing with the police is best. They’re not going to play around or assume you’re the good guy. All they know is there were gunshots, and there’s a man with a gun. If a police officer instructs you to put your weapon down, put the weapon down. Once they know what’s going on, everything will be okay, but until then, they’re not going to assume you’re the good guy. Would you in their place?

Second, if you’re sure enough that the bad guy is dead as not to go elsewhere in the house, you’re sure enough to either holster your weapon or secure it in some other way. If the police arrive and you’re not holding a gun, you’re far less likely to get shot.

Now, I’m not sure just what happened with Black, and I’m not judging him. These are general guidelines I’m suggesting here. I don’t know what went down in that house and Black may well have been making the same call I would have in such a case. I don’t know what factors went into his decisions that night.

But we can all agree this is tragic and, most likely, didn’t have to happen. We’ll have to wait and see just what led to this horrible event and I’ll be keeping everyone involved in my prayers.

May 23, 2022 12:30 PM ET