DA office exonerates Aurora cop who shot at fugitive during March foot chase

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AURORA | Arapahoe County prosecutors on Tuesday formally exonerated an Aurora police officer who fired four shots at a fugitive during a foot chase near East Iliff Avenue and South Buckley Road earlier this year.

Larry Bailey, deputy district attorney with the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, determined Aurora Police Department Officer David Krieger was in the right when he shot at Alfredo Guttieres, who was wanted by Denver police for charges related to felony menacing, shooting into an occupied vehicle and criminal mischief.

“When firing each of the four shots at Guttieres, Officer Krieger had reasonable grounds to believe, and did believe, that he or another person was in imminent danger of being killed or of receiving great bodily injury,” Bailey wrote in his report released June 11. “Therefore I find, based on the law and the facts, that Officer Krieger was justified in using or attempting to use deadly force to terminate the pursuit and arrest Guttieres. As such, no charges against Krieger are warranted.”

None of Krieger’s shots struck Guttieres, and no one was injured during the incident, according to police.

On March 28 investigators with the Denver Police Department asked members of the Aurora SWAT team for help apprehending Guttieres, who had kidnapped his girlfriend at gunpoint was driving her into Aurora at about 7:40 p.m. the same day. Denver police had issued a warrant for Guttieres’ arrest.

Krieger and other Aurora officers coordinated to pin Guttieres’ Chevy Malibu, in which Guttieres’ girlfriend was still a passenger, between two unmarked Aurora police vehicles in the McDonald’s drive-thru on the northwest corner of the intersection, according to Bailey’s report. Upon being pinned, Guttieres fled the area on foot and Krieger began his pursuit with his handgun drawn.

Krieger fired his first shot at Guttieres as the wanted man neared a sidewalk on East Iliff Avenue and turned around to face him. Krieger believed Guttieres had a handgun and was about to open fire on him, according to Bailey’s report.

Denver investigators had briefed Aurora police on Guttieres’ propensity for violence prior to their attempt to contact him. They said Guttieres was known to flee from authorities and had posted numerous videos on Facebook in which he can be seen shooting guns.

Krieger fired two more shots at Guttieres as he ran toward the Burger King and car wash on the southwest corner of the intersection, fearing the fugitive may take patrons of either business hostage, according to Bailey’s analysis. Krieger fired a final shot at Guttieres as he ran toward a parking lot of a nearby strip mall, intentionally skipping the bullet off the ground in an effort to strike Guttieres in the leg and incapacitate him.

As Guttieres ran around the car wash, he was apprehended by multiple officers who intercepted him. No other officers fired their weapons during the incident.

While police later determined Guttieres wasn’t armed during the foot chase, investigators found a semi-automatic handgun in his car.

Moments before he began to chase Guttieres, Krieger removed his body-worn camera and placed it on the dashboard of his pickup truck in an effort to capture a wider view of the planned arrest, according to Bailey’s report. Such an action is “common practice” for officers when they’re attempting to arrest a fugitive, according to the report.

As a result, there is no body-worn camera footage of the chase or the shots fired.

A panel comprised of investigators from both the Aurora and Denver police departments investigated the incident.