Authorities have identified Richard Perez, 24, of Richmond, as the suspect who was fatally shot by a Richmond police officer during a confrontation in front of Uncle Sam’s Liquors near Cutting and Carlson boulevards early Sunday.
Police say the 12:15 a.m. shooting occurred as the result of a brawl between Perez and a beat cop who had been conducting a security check of the spot known for nuisance complaints. During the fight, police say, a highly intoxicated and belligerent Perez tried to reach for the cop’s gun.
The incident unfolded when Perez walked into the liquor store appearing highly intoxicated, prompting the clerk to ask him to leave, KTVU (Ch. 2) reported. The beat cop, identified only as a Latino, Spanish-speaking 6-year RPD veteran, happened to be present.
“I see the police; I say can you please tell him to leave?” the clerk told KTVU. “I didn’t know he was going to shoot him.”
Perez allegedly resisted the officer’s orders to sit on the sidewalk and undergo a records check, and then attacked when the officer tried to detain him, according to this statement released Sunday by Richmond police Chief Chris Magnus.
During the brawl, Perez “grabbed and held on to one of the officer’s hands, while using his other hand to simultaneously go for the officer’s gun,” Magnus said.
“This was seen by at least one independent witness,” the chief said, adding that limited surveillance video footage support the police department’s version of events.
The chief added: “As the officer tried to retreat, the suspect continued his assault. The physically exhausted officer, fearing the suspect would overpower him and get his gun, fired three shots at the suspect, striking him in the chest. The suspect succumbed to his injuries at the scene.”
However, some are disagreeing with the officer’s handling of the case, including loved ones of Perez. Richmond Confidential quoted a woman at the scene who said the cop could have avoided the situation by putting the noticeably belligerent Perez in the car right away and taking him to jail.
The Confidential also reported arrest records stating Perez had been arrested in late August on charges that included discharging a weapon in a grossly negligent manner and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The officer involved was placed on routine paid administrative leave during the investigation.
The incident is the first fatal officer-involved shooting in Richmond since 2007.