Aurora police officers won’t face charges for December shooting death

Peri Duncan // Colorado Independent

Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrisey has decided not to file charges against two Aurora Police Officers who shot and killed Chad Duol Lieth in late December 2015.

Lieth was shot 6 times, and died as a result of his wounds shortly after 11:30 p.m. on Dec. 21.

Police caught up to a stolen silver Jeep Cherokee in a 7-11 parking lot after several days of being eluded by the driver when attempting to pull the vehicle over in the East Colfax area. Aurora officers said that the driver appeared to be “taunting” them in order to engage in a chase.

Jeep-in-Lot

 Photo: Denver DA decision letter / Screen shot from 7-11 video

Several officers pulled into the parking lot in separate police vehicles, the first of which stopped behind the Jeep. The driver then began to violently maneuver the Jeep back and forth, first hitting the police car, then the front doors of the 7-11, and finally accelerating in reverse toward Officer Teresa Fields, on foot behind the vehicle.

Gomez-and-Fields-Guns-Drawn

 Officers Fields and Stuteville behind and on the driver’s side of the Jeep, guns drawn. [Photo: Denver DA decision letter / Screen shot from 7-11 video]

Officer Josh Stuteville and Officer Fields then fired their weapons at the driver of the jeep, which came to a halt when it struck one of two red posts constructed of steel and concrete designed to protect propane tanks from vehicles. Fields was not injured.

Jeep-hit-Concrete-post

[Photo: Denver DA decision letter]

The toxicology report from Lieth’s blood was positive for methamphetamines and cannabinoids.

The Denver Police Department investigated the shooting.

“I have concluded that a jury would find the use of deadly physical force against Mr. Lieth was justified because of his actions,” Morrissey said in his decision letter to the Aurora Chief of Police Nicholas Metz. “Therefore, criminal charges against officers Teresa Fields and Josh Stuteville are not appropriate.”

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