A statement released at 2 p.m. Sunday by Richmond police Chief Chris Magnus:
One of our patrol officers, assigned to the Southern District, was doing foot patrol at Uncle Sam’s Liquor Store, located 3222 Cutting Blvd. at 12:15 a.m., as part of his problem-solving beat-policing. Uncle Sam’s is a liquor store that we closed briefly in February for several violations and it continues to be a problem location that has a negative impact on the surrounding neighborhood.
The officer, who is a Latino, Spanish-speaking 6 year-veteran with our department, made contact with the 24 year-old Latino suspect who displayed obvious signs of being very intoxicated. The suspect was aggressive, belligerent, and uncooperative towards the officer. The officer directed the suspect to sit on the sidewalk so he could conduct a records check. The suspect resisted being detained and attacked the officer when the officer tried to physically control him.
During this fight, the suspect became increasingly aggressive and tried to disarm the officer by attempting to pull the gun out of the officer’s holster. The officer unsuccessfully tried to control the suspect and repeatedly directed him to submit to the detention. The officer and the suspect fell to the ground as they grappled with each other. The suspect grabbed and held on to one of the officer’s hands, while using his other hand to simultaneously go for the officer’s gun. This was seen by at least one independent witness.
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.
Based on established protocols, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office is conducting an independent investigation of this shooting and the officer is on paid administrative leave. There is limited CCTV footage of this incident which has assisted the investigators in determining the sequence of events that lead to the officer’s use of lethal force.
This is the first fatal officer-involved shooting involving the Richmond Police Department since 2007. As Chief of Police, I am committed to the greatest degree of transparency possible involving this critical incident. I am confident that all aspects of this case will be thoroughly investigated and we will keep you appraised of updates as they become available.