Aurora police officers in 'gun battle' with car theft suspects in King Soopers parking lot

  • In US
  • 2022-12-02 04:59:00Z
  • By The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

Dec. 1-While attempting to stop a stolen car late Wednesday, suspects fired upon and five Aurora Police officers returned fire in a King Soopers parking lot at east Sixth Avenue and Peoria Street, according to a news release.

No officers were shot, but one was taken to a local hospital, treated and released, according to the police.

No suspects had been arrested as of Thursday afternoon.

"We're grateful none of our officers were seriously injured last night," Interim Aurora Police Chief Daniel Oates said at a press conference Thursday. "But I will tell you this: We are also very angry about what happened last night. Some people tried to murder Aurora police officers."

The Denver Metro Crime Stoppers and the Aurora Police Foundation offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspects, Oates said.

"This was a traumatic event for the entire department," he said.

It started when officers from the department's "directed action response team" (DART) began following a stolen Kia at 9:45 p.m. Wednesday. The car pulled into the King Soopers parking lot with at least two suspects.

The car was confirmed stolen, Oates said.

"One or more persons in the vehicle, unprovoked, began firing multiple rounds at two officers in an unmarked police car," according to the release. "These officers returned fire."

The suspects attempted to speed away, but were confronted by other officers responding to the shots fired call. These officers were also fired upon, according to police. Four police cruisers were hit by gunfire.

"A total of five officers occupying three cars engaged in a gun battle with the occupants of the Kia," Oates said.

Oates added that King Soopers was also hit. He didn't specify the extent of the damage.

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The fourth car tried to prevent the Kia from leaving. Though that officer did not fire, he was placed on administrative leave with the five officers who discharged their weapons as per department protocol, Oates said.

The Kia was later found crashed in a ditch at east 10th Avenue and South Lima Street.

"Officers set up a perimeter and began a search for additional suspects," the police said in the release. "A reverse 911 was sent out to residents in the area to shelter in place."

Officers found a juvenile nearby, who was arrested on active warrants. The juvenile wore a disabled ankle monitor. Investigators aren't sure if the juvenile is connected to the stolen Kia or to the shooting.

Denver Police, and other agencies, helped the Aurora SWAT and K-9 units search for the suspects.

"We are looking for the community's help," Oates said. "Any one who lives the neighborhood of 10th and Lima streets, south and west of Central High School. Especially anyone with Ring camera or other recording devices ... look in your backyards for evidence or anything out of the ordinary."

One of the suspects suffered a leg injury, likely the right leg, Oates said, citing blood evidence.

The 18th Judicial District's Critical Incident Response Team is investigating.

"I will tell you this. I see no evidence to indicate that any of these officers at this time violated any department policy and, in fact, everything I know about this event - and I was at the scene last night - tells me that our officers acted courageously in the face of a deadly threat," Oates said.

Authorities asked anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at (720) 913-7867.


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