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Aurora, Colo., police name officer who fatally shot unarmed fugitive

The police officer who fatally shot unarmed fugitive Naeschylus Vinzant in Aurora, Colo., is identified

The Colorado police officer who fatally shot an unarmed parole absconder Friday was identified by Aurora police as Paul Jerothe.

Jerothe, a nine-year veteran, was assigned as a SWAT paramedic when he shot Naeschylus Vinzant, 37, according to a statement from Aurora police.

The shooting sparked protests, in part because Vinzant was one of a number of unarmed black men killed by police in recent months.

Recently appointed police Chief Nick Metz noted public frustration over the lack of information available about the shooting.

“To ensure a full and thorough investigation and to protect its integrity for Mr. Vinzant’s family, the officer and the community, we must be judicious in limiting the release of information that might jeopardize the final outcome of this case,” Metz said in a statement.

Vinzant, who had a lengthy criminal history dating back to the mid-1990s, absconded from parole March 2 and removed his ankle monitor, police said. He was also wanted in connection with an assault, robbery, kidnapping and domestic violence incident, police said.

Once officers located Vinzant, they tried to take him into custody, which is when Jerothe fired a single shot, police said. Vinzant was hit in the chest.

No additional details were released by police, who cited the ongoing investigation into the shooting by the Jefferson County district attorney's office.

Jerothe had not been involved in a shooting before this one, police said. They said the officer is on paid leave pending an investigation into the shooting, which is common practice.

A rally was planned near City Hall for Thursday night to protest the shooting. Protesters also gathered Wednesday night, according to local media reports.

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