AURORA The owner of a check-cashing and cigarette store shot and killed an armed robber in his store early Monday afternoon, according to eyewitnesses and a vague police account.
Aurora police said they received a 911 call shortly after 1 p.m. about a gunman who attempted to rob the check-cashing store on the northwest corner of Clinton Street and East Colfax Avenue.
After investigating, police said a "possible suspect" had been shot by a person in the store.
The wounded person was driven by an unknown person to a Denver-area hospital where he died of a single gunshot wound, police said, refusing to identify the victim or the hospital where he was treated.
Police Lt. Bob Friel said detectives were hesitant to release any details until they were sure of their investigation.
However, Ryan Moench, 17, a mechanic at Muffler Pros, which his family has owned for 15 years directly across Colfax from the check-cashing store, said he heard a single gunshot, then saw two men dressed in blue running from the store, out of his view.
"I heard a shot and saw two guys running out of the store and around to the back," Moench said. He couldn't recall if one was bleeding and could give no other description.
"I could see the owner of the store in the door on the telephone. Five minutes later, the police arrived," he said.
The owner of the check-cashing business is a 56-year-old man named Tom, who has owned the business for 22 years, according to his landlord, Jim Rellos. Rellos said he couldn't remember his tenant's last name and couldn't find the lease.
"He's a good man," Rellos said. "I never have trouble with him. He runs a good business. His kid went to Machebeuf High School with one of my kids."
Friel said Tom was taken to police headquarters for questioning after the shooting.
Police also interviewed passers-by, residents and people working in the downtown Aurora neighborhood, just a few blocks west of the historic Aurora Fox Theatre.
Mike McPhee: 303-954-1409 or firstname.lastname@example.org