When a nude stranger broke into his Colorado home and tried to drown his 11-year-old grandson, Richard “Gary” Black bolted into action, grabbing his gun and killing the unrelenting intruder. Soon, Black would be dead too—at the hands of local police.
“This is a horror movie scenario,” Siddhartha Rathod, who is representing Black’s family, told The Denver Post. “There’s no question Mr. Black is a hero, that Mr. Black saved his grandson’s life. This truly is a tragedy.”
It all began early Monday morning, when a naked man pushed through Black’s front door and entered the Aurora home. The intruder pulled the sleeping 11-year-old off the couch, then attempted to strangle him and drown him in a bathtub.
Black, a 73-year-old decorated war veteran, fought back with his stepson, Chad Hayashi, but the naked man refused to back down, continuing to attack the boy and smashing a vase over Black’s head. The grandfather, who had a concealed-carry permit, then fatally shot the intruder with his 9mm pistol, an attorney for his family told The Denver Post.
The situation then took an unthinkably tragic turn. When Aurora Police Department officers arrived at the scene at about 1:30 a.m., a cop shot and killed Black, whom authorities said was still armed. The department later issued a statement saying the scene was “chaotic and violent” when cops arrived.
Black was taken to the hospital after he was shot, and later died. The man who entered his home was found dead on the floor of the bathroom.
Black was a former Army lieutenant and received a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for fighting in the Vietnam War. After the war, he became an Internal Revenue Service agent and was a certified public accountant in Colorado.
“He was a wonderful family man who loved spending time with his grandchildren and caring for his garden,” Black’s half-sister Elisa Black-Taylor told The Denver Post. “He will be remembered as a hero, both for his service to his country as well as to the family who loved him.”
The officer who killed Black is on administrative reassignment with pay. He is currently under investigation for another fatal shooting that occurred about a month ago, Rathod told The Daily Beast. The lawyer added that typically, officers under investigation are placed on administrative duty, but this one was back in the field.
Aurora police posted a statement on the department’s Facebook page Tuesday, saying it is “conducting a comprehensive investigation” in conjunction with the Denver Police Department and the 17th Judicial District.
“We continue to methodically collect evidence, interview witnesses, and review all available recordings, to include the body worn cameras of all involved officers,” said the statement from Nicholas Metz, Aurora’s police chief.
A police department spokesperson declined to comment further. Authorities have tentatively scheduled a press conference for Thursday afternoon.
“Aurora is going to need to come out and say what happened,” Rathod said.