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Man who shot, killed Colorado assistant volunteer fire chief sentenced to life in prison

Jaros was an assistant chief with the Glen Haven Area Volunteer Fire Department.
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Posted at 12:19 PM, May 23, 2024

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. – A man convicted in the I-70 shooting death of an assistant chief of a Colorado volunteer fire department was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole by an Adams County judge.

Jeremy Rocha, 22, was found guilty on May 17 on one count of first-degree murder after deliberation; one count of first-degree murder, extreme indifference; and four counts of attempted first-degree murder, extreme indifference.

Rocha was convicted of shooting and killing 37-year-old John Jaros who was driving with his wife and three kids on I-70 near Colfax the day before Father’s Day in 2022.

Jaros was an assistant chief with the Glen Haven Area Volunteer Fire Department.

In addition to the life sentence, Adams County Judge Jeffrey Ruff sentenced Rocha to 48 years in prison and 5 years parole for each of the attempted murder charges related to the Jaros’ wife and children who were in the vehicle.

"Any of us could have been the Jarros' that day," said Judge Ruff to the courtroom. "What an enormous loss this is because of a decision you made that day. It isn't just a loss of this family's, it's your loss and it's your family's loss."

Investigators said cars were stopped on the eastbound lanes of I-70 between Tower and 470 on June 18, 2022 when Jaros attempted to drive his truck around a group of street racers and the stopped traffic.

The Adams County District Attorney's Office said Rocha and other drivers were street racing when Jaros tried to drive his truck on the left shoulder if I-70 in an attempt to pass.

'Rocha became agitated by Jaros’ move to pass the street racers, so he caught up to Jaros’ truck, pointed his 9MM Glock handgun at John Jaros’ truck, and opened fire,' said the DA's office in a release.

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Crime

Man found guilty in shooting death of Colorado assistant volunteer fire chief

Jeff Anastasio
3:01 PM, May 17, 2024

Rocha shot nine rounds at Jaros’ vehicle, killing him at the scene. His wife and kids were not physically hurt in the shooting.

During victim impact statements, Jaros' wife, Katherine, pointed to her faith and said she forgave the man who killed her husband.

"I've agonized finding the right words to say for 702 days," she said. "I pray he [Rocha] comes to know the Lord. I have chosen to forgive Jeremy Jacob Rocha. I've given up any hate I have in my heart toward him."

Judge Ruff added "What you do with forgiveness — it's up to you."

District Attorney Brian Mason cited the "courage and heroism" of Katherine Jaros' actions in the moments following the shooting.

"Katie Jaros physically climbed over her dead husband's body to gain control of that truck and to steer it to safety to prevent any other loss of life," said Mason.

Rocha’s defense claimed he fired in self defense. He took the stand testifying he shot his gun after allegedly seeing the victim with a gun in his hand, a description the prosecutors argued was untrue and the jury ultimately rejected.

"Mr. Rocha brutally and inconceivably fired 9 rounds into the Jarros' vehicle killing Johnathan Jarros and very nearly massacring an entire family," said Mason.

Man who shot, killed CO assistant volunteer fire chief to spend life in prison

Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly attributed quotes to Judge Jeffrey Ruff instead of District Attorney Brian Mason.


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