AURORA | An undercover officer was justified when he who shot and killed an armed man suspected of selling methamphetamine to middle school students, prosecutors said Tuesday.
In a letter to Aurora police Chief Dan Oates, Arapahoe County Chief Deputy District Attorney Robert Chappell said Officer John Christy used appropriate force when he shot Richard Arreola on Feb. 10 near East Colfax Avenue and Macon Street.
“Under the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident, it was reasonable for Officer Christy to conclude that a lesser degree of force was inadequate and that he was in imminent danger of being killed or of receiving great bodily injury by Richard Arreola,” Chappell wrote in the letter, dated April 5.
Prosecutors released the letter Tuesday, a day after releasing two other letters that cleared Aurora officers who shot suspects in separate incidents last spring.
In the Arreola case, police started investigating him when two students at an Aurora middle school had to be hospitalized after using meth, police said.
Detectives focused their investigation on Arreola, who police said had been selling drugs from his wireless store in the 1400 block of Peoria Street, Neviah Wireless.
While detectives were watching Arreola at a home near his store Feb. 10, Arreola, carrying a pistol and a rifle, approached one of the undercover officers.
The officer, who was sitting in an undercover police vehicle, shot Arreola.
Police searched Arreola’s store, which is a block east of where he was killed, and found two guns, a pound of marijuana and cash, police said.