By Dillon Thomas
AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – The Aurora Police Department further investigated the actions of an officer after he shot a man driving a vehicle.
Police Chief Nick Metz told CBS4 one of his officers, a 13-year veteran of the force, shot Michael Adrian Torres, 24, with a rifle near Sable Street and East Colfax Avenue.
“Torres was wanted in connection to an aggravated motor vehicle theft in Denver,” said Sgt. Steven Jokerst with the Aurora Police Department.
Jokerst said Aurora and Denver officers were conducting surveillance on Torres. When they approached him, Torres allegedly drove away in a car. The car also carried a 17-year-old female.
What happened after contact was made, however, was not released by police.
Metz would only say an officer fired a less-lethal round at Torres before another officer shot him with the rifle.
Some suggested the car was moving at the time Torres was shot, which would violate department policy.
“Our policy is that officers should not fire at a moving vehicle,” Metz said. “But at the same time we have to look at the circumstances involved.”
Metz said the officer was reassigned on paid administrative leave pending investigation. The department, in conjunction with other agencies, was investigating whether or not the officer was justified to shoot. If he was not, the case would then be passed on.
“(If the shooting was not justified), that will have to be reviewed by the district attorney’s office,” Metz said.
Torres’ condition was not released by the police department. Jokerst said Torres remained in the hospital.
Police have surveillance video of at least a portion of the event, which is now part of the investigation.
Metz said the department will continue to investigate whether or not the actions were justified.
The officer’s name was not released.
“That officer is going to have to articulate objective reasonableness for his decision to shoot into the vehicle,” Metz said.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.