AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Aurora Police said at a news conference on Monday that the suspect killed in an officer-involved shooting last Friday was an unarmed black man, but didn’t give a reason why he was shot.
According to police, Naeschylus Vinzant, 37, was wanted for removing his ankle bracelet while on parole. Police also wanted him for a March 2 kidnapping, assault, domestic violence and robbery.
The shooting happened at approximately 1:15 p.m. at the intersection of East 12th Avenue and Memphis Street, and the suspect was taken to the hospital where he later died.
“Members of the SWAT team attempted to take the subject into custody, at which time one shot was fired and the subject was struck one time in the chest,” Cmdr. Paul O’Keefe with Aurora police said.
O’Keefe said officers didn’t learn Vinzant was unarmed until after he was shot. No officers were injured in the incident.
On Monday an Arapahoe County coroner’s officer performed an autopsy on Vinzant.
“He died from a gunshot wound to the chest during a confrontation with police officers. The manner of death is classified as homicide,” the coroner’s office said in a statement.
New Aurora Police Chief Nicholas Metz is aware that shooting an unarmed black man has proven a recipe for protests and violence elsewhere.
“We’re in a climate right now where our actions, police actions are going to be questioned to a much greater degree — whether it’s from the media or folks from the community,” Metz said.
Vinzant has a long criminal record in Colorado and other states. Police wouldn’t say whether he threatened them before the officer opened fire.
The officer who opened fire, whose name hasn’t been released, has retained a lawyer and hasn’t been interviewed by investigators.
Police are planning meetings with community groups in hopes to keep things calm.