A 24-year-old has been identified as the man shot and killed by a police officer after fighting with the officer in front of a liquor store in Richmond early Sunday morning. Richard Perez II of Richmond was shot dead in front of Uncle Sam’s Liquor Store a short time after 12:15 a.m. Sunday, according to police. Police said an officer was patrolling the area near the store at 3322 Cutting Blvd. when he encountered Perez, who was allegedly intoxicated and belligerent.
When the officer asked Perez to sit down for a records check, the suspect allegedly attacked the officer and both men fell to the ground, according to police. In a statement describing the incident posted on the Police Department’s Facebook page, Richmond police Chief Chris Magnus said the suspect became increasingly aggressive and tried to grab the officer’s gun from its holster. At one point during the struggle, the suspect allegedly “grabbed and held on to one of the officer’s hands, while using his other hand to simultaneously go for the officer’s gun,” said Magnus, noting that at least one independent witness verified that account. “As the officer tried to retreat, the suspect continued his assault,” the chief said.
“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.” Perez was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said the officer, who is 31 years old and a six-year veteran of the Richmond Police Department, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of an investigation by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office. Magnus said security footage from Sam’s Liquors shows limited portions of the incident and has helped investigators in determining the sequence of events leading up to the shooting.
A decision about whether to release the footage will likely be made by the district attorney’s office, Richmond police Capt. Mark Gagan said. The incident is the first fatal officer-involved shooting in Richmond since 2007, when a police officer shot and killed 18-year-old Anthony Myles, who police at the time said was armed with a gun and allegedly shot at another man. Magnus said the liquor store where Sunday’s deadly shooting occurred closed briefly in February for multiple violations and has been a “problem location” that has negatively impacted the surrounding neighborhood. The chief pledged to maintain the “greatest degree of transparency” as the investigation into the shooting moves forward and to update the public as soon as new information is available.
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