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Officer justified in shooting of suspect at Aurora hotel, DA says

Shannon Owens was shot and wounded at an Aurora hotel after an hours-long standoff in July 2021.

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. — An Aurora police officer who shot and wounded man through a hole in a hotel room wall last summer will not face charges, the 17th Judicial District Attorney's Office announced Thursday.

Officers from the Aurora Police Department (APD) SWAT Team were called to the Wolf's Motor Inn, at 15691 E. Colfax Ave., on July 6 2021, to arrest Shannon Owens, who was wanted on multiple warrants.

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One of the warrants was out of Denver on a failure-to-appear charge related to an attempted murder charge, the DA's office said.

Once at the hotel, the team saw Owens appearing to argue with a woman in the parking lot before going into Room 224 of the hotel.

Officers called the room, and the woman answered. She reported that Owens had left the room out a back window, but when confronted, she admitted that Owens was still in the room and handed him the phone, a decision letter from the DA's office says.

During a conversation, the officer attempted to get Owens to surrender, but he refused, the letter says. For several hours, officers tried to coax him out of the room by using loudspeakers, calling him and speaking with several of his family members, according to the letter.

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Other rooms of the hotel were evacuated.

At one point, a flash bang was deployed, and then a gunshot was heard from the room where Owen was located, the letter says.

At that time, Officer Oscar Pena moved to a hole in the wall that had been created by law enforcement that allowed him to peer into the room where Owens was located.

He described the following:

“I am looking through the hole. I see [Mr. Owens] laying down on the ground and he’s got a gun and it is pointed right at my gunport, right at me, clearly I can see a black semi-automatic handgun pointed right at me … he pointed a gun right at me.”

Pena later reported that he believed that Owens had shot the woman in the room with him and was concerned he would shoot officers if they attempted to enter the room.

He said he also feared for his own safety because he had his face and arm in the wall port, open in the direction Owens was pointing his handgun. 

Pena said that he fearing he had no other choice, so he fired at Owens and struck him twice, once in the left back area and once in the left knee area, the letter says.

Owens dropped his handgun and Pena stopped shooting, the letter says. Other officers moved in to take Owens into custody and contact the woman.

She denied she was held hostage and reported that she never saw Owens with a gun, according to the letter.

She did acknowledge knowing that officers were outside of the motel room, announcing their presence and making repeated requests to surrender, the letter says.

Despite her statement that she was not held against her will, the DA said it was reasonable for officers to be concerned for her safety, particularly after hearing the gunshot.

Officers found a loaded handgun near where Owens was arrested, and a bullet hole was found in the interior of the room, the letter says.

Pena was wearing a body camera, but due to the size of the hole in the wall, much of the incident could not be seen on the camera, according to the letter. Audio did capture Pena commanding Owens to show his hands twice before he fired his weapon, the letter says.

Given the circumstances, the district attorney determined that Pena's actions were justified and declined to file charges against him.

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