The man who was shot be police Thursday night in Aurora, CO. may have discovered he was under surveillance just before he was killed in front of his mother's home.
Sgt. Cassidee Carlson, Aurora police spokesperson, said that Richard Arreola, age 25, was being investigated for allegedly selling drugs out of a phone shop that he owned.
Officers were planning on executing warrants on Friday, but were keeping an eye on Arreola in the meantime.
When Arreola arrived at 1429 Macon Street, an undercover officer watching the house said over the radio that his cover had been blown, and indicated that Arreola had a gun.
The undercover officer fired at Arreola multiple times through his car windshield just after 6:30 PM.
Arreola did not open fire, but the police officer said that he was "walking with purpose."
Arreola was pronounced dead at the scene and was found with a revolver in his right hand and a rifle just a few steps away.
Carlson said that the investigation began when seven students from South Middle School in Aurora were caught late last week using or dealing methamphetamine after two of the students were hospitalized.
"The Narcotics Unit jumped on it because it did involve middle school students," Carlson said. "Arreola quickly became a suspect."
Carlson said that police had made a successful undercover purchase of marijuana at Arreola's business and on Thursday had gone to a judge to obtain a search warrant in the case.
The warrant was executed Friday afternoon at Arreola's business, Neviah Wireless on Peoria Street in Aurora. Police seized one pound of marijuana and two guns.
Friday afternoon, friends and neighbors gathered around the spot on the sidewalk where Arreola was shot, staring in disbelief at the snow spackled with blood.
Arrolea's family said that Arreola had just arrived at his mothers home to pick up his 3 year old daughter.
Ruben Montano, Arreola's younger brother, said he knew something was wrong when he heard seven gunshots.
"I went to find him," Montano said. "Then I saw my brother shot for no reason."
The name of the officer has not been released. Following protocol, the officer was placed on administrative leave, with pay, pending an internal review.
police say that it is possible other people are involved in the drug incident involving the students, but the investigation is still on-going.
Colorado Bureau of Investigation records show that in addition to several traffic offenses in Denver in 2008, Arreola was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana. Arreola also served 18 days in jail and a year of probation for a gambling offense in 2007 out of Gilpin county.
In 2004 Arreola was named a Senior Youth Honoree at the annual Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver Youth of the Year event. Honorees are selected on the basis of efforts in leadership, academic achievement, community service, and overcoming obstacles.
By Jordan Steffen
and Yesenia Robles
The Denver Post
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