AURORA, Colo. — A family in Aurora, all too familiar with grief, is facing a new setback.
They hope their story reminds other families not to take loved ones for granted.
“It’s pretty quick how quick everything can change in your life,” explained Chad Hayashi.
It started last July at the home of Hayashi’s mother and stepfather, Richard “Gary” Black, Junior.
They were home, along with Hayashi’s two kids, when a naked intruder broke into the house.
“The guy came in, broke into the house, took my son to the bathroom and tried to drown him. Eventually my stepfather broke down the door. Him and I got the guy off,” Hayashi said.
Black shot and killed the intruder. In the chaotic moments that followed, responding police officers shot and killed Black.
Police said Black ignored their commands to drop his weapon.
“It’s dark outside. People are outside yelling to my dad, who is hearing impaired. He moves a flashlight and boom. He was gone,” Hayashi remembers. “It was just heartbreaking.”
The District Attorney’s Office found the shooting justified under Colorado law.
But Black’s family is devastated.
Since the shooting, they are working to heal. Hayashi said it’s brought his family closer together.
Now, they face a new setback. This one started in the spring.
“I started having issues with swallowing and food, and even liquid,” Hayashi said. “I went to the doctor and had some testing done in April, and I was diagnosed with Stage 4 esophageal cancer.”
Hayashi spent days in the hospital after his initial diagnosis. There were times his family thought he was close to death. The cancer has spread throughout his body, and he said his doctors have not promised him much time.
“I was told, pretty upfront, maybe a year,” he said. “And it’s non-operable. And the radiation and the chemo are really just to get me through the year.”
Hayashi finished 13 radiation treatments already, and started chemotherapy just this week.
Now, he’s ready to write the next chapter of his family’s story.
“I just want to spend as much time as I can with my kids,” he said. “My kids are awesome. My son is 12, resilient, resilient guy. My daughter is 10. She’s quite a firecracker as well,” he said.
“[I want to] spend as much time with them as I can, take them on some trips if we can before time runs out.”
Hayashi said he's unable to work due to his illness. An online fundraiser has already raised more than $3,000 for him and his family.
The community has also honored his step-father’s memory.
Hayashi said his stepfather, a Vietnam Army veteran, was honored in Westminster on Armed Forces Day, with a brick with his name.
Black was also remembered in South Carolina, where he grew up. Hayashi said his stepfather grew up in an orphanage called the Epworth Children’s Home, which honored him with a memorial fund in his name. Black’s family said he graduated from The Citadel, a Military college, which hosted a funeral service after his death.
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