If a jury in Colorado ever is asked to decide whether Jahlil Meshesha was pointing his gun at off-duty Jefferson County Deputy Sheriff Jose Ramon Marquez in an apparent attempted robbery last winter, they just need to look at a photograph of his weapon.
The photo shows Marquez’s bullet, which he fired at Meshesha while he was being fired on, inside Meshesha’s gun.
Marquez’s .45 caliber shot had hit Meshesha’s gun exactly in the barrel opening and traveled down the barrel, jamming the assailant’s .40 caliber weapon completely.
Here’s the explanation from Rich Orman, the chief deputy district attorney in Colorado’s Arapahoe County, which investigated the police-shooting case.
“The weapon associated with Meshesha was examined. Of note, it was determined that one of the shots that Deputy Marquez fired from his .45 caliber handgun actually hit Meshesha’s .40 caliber handgun and traveled down the barrel, colliding with a cartridge that was in the chamber of the gun. Detective Ingui described this as a ‘one in a billion thing’ in a personal conversation with the undersigned.
“This collision rendered the .40 caliber pistol temporarily inoperable. Thus, we can conclude that Meshesha fired three shots before this happened, based on the shell casings found at the scene, and that he was pointing his gun at Deputy Marquez when Deputy Marquez fired the shot that hit the gun, otherwise the shot from Deputy Marquez would not have gone down the barrel.”
Orman’s investigation found that Marquez was confronted with two armed individuals who drew their weapons, and that fact alone “would be sufficient for Deputy Marquez to draw and use his weapon to defend himself.”
But Orman also found the “evidence also suggests that one or both of the assailants fired first, which would also provide justification for Deputy Marquez to use his firearm to defend himself.”
“Incontrovertible physical evidence shows that Meshesha had his gun pointed directly at Deputy Marquez when Deputy Marquez fired one of his shots, which rendered Meshesha’s gun inoperable.”
The conclusions came in a report to Police Chief Nicholas Metz in Aurora and Sheriff Jeff Shrader in Jefferson County into the attack on Marquez. The officer exchanged gunfire with the attackers, and Meshesha was hit in the leg. Another assailant fled and has yet to be identified or caught, police report.
Meshesha is facing criminal charges over the attack, and the report addresses whether Marquez’s use of force was in accordance with Colorado law.
It was, Orman concluded.
The 14 pages of detailed testimony from witnesses about the case said Marquez was off duty in an apartment parking lot when he was confronted by two males dressed in black, wearing face masks and carrying weapons.
“Deputy Marquez was shot first, and returned fire from his weapon striking one of the suspects in the leg. Deputy Marquez was shot multiple times and the two suspects fled from the scene.”
The officer was able to speak only briefly with Aurora Police Officer Adam Roberts before he passed out.
Orman’s decision clears Marquez, who was shot in the shoulder and abdomen in the Jan. 26 attack and still is recovering from his injuries.
“Marquez reasonably believed that his life was in danger and acted reasonably in shooting Meshesha, and that he used an appropriate level of physical force,” the report said.