Richmond police release details on fatal officer-involved shooting

Richmond police release details fatal officer-involved shooting
Richmond police spokesperson Sgt. Patchin speaks with the media in the foreground as Chief Bisa French looks on at a July 7, 2023 press conference about a fatal officer-involved shooting.

By Mike Kinney 

An officer-involved shooting in Point Richmond on Wednesday, June 28 was connected to an investigation into two separate incidents in previous days during which a resident of the home reportedly brandished a firearm from a vehicle at pedestrians in the city, the Richmond Police Department announced at a press conference today.

Kevin McDonald, 66, was fatally shot while Richmond police were serving a search warrant at a home in the 1200 block of Sanderling Island just after 9 p.m. In an incident captured on police body cameras, McDonald was armed with an AR-15 style pistol that he allegedly raised toward officers as he was seated on a bed inside a bedroom of the home, an action that prompted the officer-involved shooting, according to police.

A subsequent search of the residence resulted in detectives locating a total of 53 firearms, a live hand grenade and a large quantity of ammunition, police said. Materials to manufacture illegal firearms were also reportedly seized. 

The incident was preceded earlier that morning by the arrest of Jose Martinez, 63, who was a resident of the Sanderling Island home and a suspect in two separate gun brandishing incidents in the city, one in which a firearm was discharged, according to police.

The first reported brandishing incident occurred in the 900 block of West Cutting Boulevard on June 18 at 8:47 p.m. The victims in that incident provided a description of the suspect, his vehicle and the firearm that was brandished. The suspect fled before police arrived.

Then on June 26 at 1:32 a.m., officers responded to another report of a person brandishing a firearm at pedestrians, this time in the 100 block of Washington Avenue. During this incident, the suspect discharged the firearm. One of the victims in this incident identified Martinez as the suspect.

Detectives conducted a follow-up investigation and developed probable cause to arrest Martinez for brandishing a firearm, discharging a firearm in a negligent manner, and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. Officers also identified Martinez as the suspect in the brandishing incident on June 18, police said.

Martinez was pulled over by police on Interstate 580 near Reggatta Boulevard on June 28 at about 4:09 a.m., police said. He admitted to possessing a firearm, and a firearm was located in his vehicle, police said. He was taken into custody and found to have numerous prior felony arrests prohibiting him from legally possessing a firearm.

Martinez told police he lived at a residence in the 1200 block of Sanderling Island, and admitted to possessing additional firearms that he stored in his bedroom, police said. Detectives secured a warrant to search the home. 

The evening of June 28, officers approached the residence and knocked on the door, making numerous announcements identifying themselves as police officers while demanding entry into the residence, according to police. Eventually officers used a key provided by Martinez to enter, then searched the interior of the two-story home for occupants while continuing to announce their presence and demanding that any occupants show themselves, police said.

Officers opened a closed bedroom door while again announcing themselves as Richmond police. In the bedroom they found McDonald seated on a bed and armed with an AR-15-style pistol. According to police, McDonald raised his weapon toward officers, at which time an officer-involved shooting occurred. Officers provided medical aid to him, but he died at the scene.

The officers involved in the shooting were identified as Sgt. Alex Caine and Detective Robert Branch, both 16-year veterans of the Richmond Police Department.

McDonald had prior felony convictions prohibiting him from possessing firearms, according to police. A subsequent search of the Sanderling Island residence led to the seizure of 23 pistols, eight revolvers, 20 rifles, and two shotguns, along with the live hand grenade and a large quantity of ammunition and materials to make illegal firearms. 

The bomb squad from Travis Air Force Base came and removed the live hand grenade from the crime scene.

On June 30, the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office charged Martinez for nine felonies including assault with a deadly weapon, brandishing a firearm, and illegally possessing a firearm. He remains in custody.

The officer-involved shooting continues to be the subject of an active joint investigation by the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office and the Richmond Police Department.

Because the incident involved a live hand grenade and illegal gun manufacturing equipment, that portion of the investigation has been turned over to The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Images of some of the seized weapons were provided by the RPD and include: