RICHMOND, Calif. — A 24-year-old man is the first to be killed by Richmond police in seven years.
Police say the officer fired after being confronted by the intoxicated and belligerent Richard Perez who reached for the officer's gun. They believe surveillance video backs up that version of events.
KTVU obtained a copy of that video which shows Perez walking into Uncle Sam's Liquor and Deli on Cutting Blvd in Richmond.
"He comes in all the time but last night he drank too much," said Mohammed Delik, a clerk at the store. Delik says Perez tried to take liquor from behind the counter three times on store credit.
"I said please leave, please leave," Delik said. A Richmond officer happened to be outside on the street, as part of a foot patrol detail.
According to Richmond Police Department's Capt. Mark Gagan, the area around the liquor store gets many nuisance complaints and at one point the troubles caused the store to close.
"I see the police; I say can you please tell him to leave? I didn't know he was going to shoot him."
Cameras only provide a partial view of the fight between the officer and suspect but the video shows Delik watching the scuffle from the doorway while another customer walks by. Then the officer gets up and as he backs up raises his arm and fires. The video then shows Perez as he staggers into the store, holding his stomach, walks a few feet into the store, collapses and dies in an aisle.
Police say the shooting was unavoidable. "The suspect attacked the officer and physically grabbed his gun. The officer was by himself the fight went on for about a minute and the officer was able to stand up and began retreating. The suspect came after him and the officer fired his weapon."
The store does have an exterior camera pointed at the spot where Perez struggled with the officer but it isn't working.
Delik, who watched the fight from two feet away claims Perez never reached for the officer's gun but was only trying to prevent the officer from putting him in handcuffs.
Richmond's Chief of Police informed the public about the incident through social media. Sunday night Chief Chris Magnus tweeted "Doing our best to balance goals of thorough and fair investigation of our officer-involved shooting with transparency and accountability to public."
The officer involved is a man in his mid-thirties with 6 years on the force. He has been placed on leave, which is standard during investigations of officer-involved shootings.
Reposted from KTVU