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Police make arrest in deadly I-70 shooting of assistant fire chief

Posted at 10:44 AM, Jun 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-23 19:17:50-04

DENVER – Aurora police announced Thursday they had arrested a 20-year-old man in connection with the shooting on Interstate 70 last Saturday that killed Glen Haven Area Volunteer Fire Department assistant chief John Jaros.

Jeremy Jacob Rocha, 20, was arrested in Commerce City for investigation of first-degree murder and four counts of attempted first-degree murder early Thursday, the Aurora Police Department (APD) said.

The shooting happened around 5:30 p.m. last Saturday — the eve of Father's Day — as Jaros was driving with his wife and three young kids on eastbound I-70 west of E. Colfax Avenue.

Cmdr. Rob McGregor, commander of the major crimes unit with APD, said a handful of cars stopped eastbound traffic on I-70 between Tower and 470 and Jaros tried to drive around the stopped traffic. The suspect then shot multiple rounds at his car, McGregor said. His wife was able to lean over her husband and put the car in neutral to pull over. Her strength to do so was "admirable," McGregor said.

Jaros was hit inside the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Aurora police said earlier this week they were looking for suspects in two vehicles – a white sedan and a black sedan – and said they might have been street racing at the time of the shooting.

Aurora police said Thursday investigators had interviewed several witnesses before making the arrest.

"We're talking about the loss of a father, husband, assistant fire chief," Glen Haven Area Volunteer Fire Department Chief Kevin Zagorda said earlier this week.

At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Matthew Longshore, public information officer for the Aurora Police Department, read a statement provided by the Jaros' wife, Katie Jaros:

“I would like to say thank you to the law enforcement agencies that worked diligently to apprehend the person responsible for my husband’s murder. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully express my gratitude. I have been so overwhelmed with all the support that is pouring out from the local community surrounding us. We have an amazing community that we are a part of and we are so thankful for everything everyone is doing for us. ... As I walk through this grieving process with my children, please be praying for us that God would give us peace and, over time, hearts of forgiveness. I know God is faithful and we trust his plan for our lives.”

She also asked for prayers for the suspect and said she hopes he someday experiences "God's love, mercy and forgiveness."

Police update on deadly I-70 shooting in Aurora

Major Crimes Homicide Unit Lt. Robert Wesner said Rocha was arrested at his family's home in Commerce City Thursday around 3 a.m.

He said that the drivers involved in the street racing that night have been contacted and all are cooperating with police.

The Aurora Reward Fund and Metro Denver Crime Stoppers had each been offering rewards for tips that led to an arrest and successful prosecution in the shooting. Anybody with information on this shooting who has not already talked with police is asked to call 303-739-6113.

A fund has been set up to help his family at the Bank of Estes Park. Donations for the family can be made by mail or in-person to The Jaros Family Fund Donation Account.

By mail:

The Bank of Estes Park
c/o The Jaros Family Fund Account
P.O. Box 2390
Estes Park, CO. 80517

Two verified GoFundMe accounts are also helping the family. You can find one here and a second one here.