No charges for Adams County deputy Manuel Aragon in fatal January shooting

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. - An Adams County Deputy will not be charged in connection with the shooting death of a suspected drunk driver, based on the conclusions of the District Attorney's investigation.

At 5:59 p.m. on January 14, Deputy Manuel Aragon and Deputy Shawn Billings were sent to the area of 138th Avenue and Quebec Street to respond to a report of a drunk driver. According to the DA's report, the case evolved into rollover accident while the deputies were on the way.

The car driven by Robert Alan Penning ended up high-centered in a field off Quebec Street near 146th Avenue.

Aragon was first to arrive, the report said, and within a minute radioed a "shots fired" report.

According to the DA's report, Penning had pulled a gun from his waistband and pointed it at Aragon. At that time he reportedly said "'[W]ell, I guess it's time for me to go.'"

There were no other witnesses to the shooting, but when other deputies arrived they found a Smith and Wesson, .357mm Taurus revolver near Penning. It was loaded with six rounds. There was also an open case of beer on the ground next to the rear tire of Penning's Volkswagen.

Penning was pronounced dead about 24 minutes after the deputies were first dispatched. Two days later an autopsy determined his cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the left chest area.

The report says Aragon fired two shots "during those few critical seconds on scene."

The DA concludes that Aragon was justified in using deadly force in this situation and will not face criminal charges.

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