AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – As protesters gathered in front of the Aurora Municipal Center on Thursday evening for they asked for peace and answers.
“All we get is a picture, a photograph and a name,” said Laneiasha Butler, a family member of deceased fugitive Naeschylus Vinzant, referring to the Aurora police officer who shot him. “We still don’t get no answers as to why this happened. We just want justice.”
The protest was the latest of several that have taken place since Vinzant’s death. When Vinzant was shot and killed by Aurora police on March 6 he was a fugitive wanted for crimes including assault, robbery, kidnapping and cutting off his GPS ankle monitor. But he was also unarmed.
Aurora police disclosed late Thursday afternoon that Officer Paul Jerothe fired the shot that killed Vinzant. The announcement came hours after Jerothe took part in his first formal interview with his department about what happened. The SWAT paramedic and 9 year veteran of the force was recently named tactical EMS officer of the year. The award was given, in part, for his actions during the Aurora movie theater shooting rescue efforts in 2012.
Arapahoe County’s district attorney has asked Jefferson County to review the Vinzant investigation, once Aurora police have completed their internal investigation, due to a potential conflict of interest. Those involved — and those watching closely — say they support whatever path leads to the truth.
“We just want whoever’s going to be fair,” Butler said.
State Rep. Rhonda Fields, a Democrat who represents Aurora, was at the Aurora Municipal Center to talk with protesters and told CBS4 “I don’t know all the facts.”
“It sounds like he’s a noble, upstanding police officer,” she said. “It’s going to be up to an investigator to find out what truly happened.”
Jerothe’s interview with Aurora investigators lasted for two hours. Police said he wasn’t able to do a formal interview sooner because of trauma he was dealing with after the shooting.