Media questions police after officer fatally shoots man who attempted to fire replica handgun and rifle at him

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OXON HILL, MD- According to authorities, a Prince George’s County Police Officer fatally shot a 29-year-old man after the man allegedly pointed and tried to fire two replica guns at the officer.

The officer reportedly tried to get 29-year-old Cedric Williams to leave an apartment complex in the 1100 block of Owens Road on Friday, September 10th, around 12:45 p.m. An employee of the complex told police that Williams was banned from the property.

The officer lives at the complex and was in uniform at the time of the incident. Williams, who does not have a fixed address, did not comply with the officer’s direct orders to leave the area and a verbal confrontation ensued.

The verbal altercation became physical outside the building, before continuing to the road. During the physical struggle, Williams pulled what appeared to be a handgun from a backpack and reportedly tried to fire it at the officer.

When the weapon did not fire, Williams tossed it into the woods. Police later determined it was a replica gun. Police said that the officer used his Taser twice in an attempt to place Williams under arrest, but the the Taser was not effective.

Police said that Williams then retrieved what appeared to be an AR-15 style rifle from the woods and pointed it at the officer. The officer responded by discharging his duty weapon and firing several shots, killing Williams.

Police later determined the rifle was also a replica. The officer was treated for minor injuries at a nearby hospital. 

The officer, whom police have not identified due to the ongoing investigation into the incident, joined the department in 2009. He is assigned to the Bureau of Patrol. Per departmental policy, he is now on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

When asked if the guns recovered were “toy guns,” Police Chief Malik Aziz called them “realistic replicas of weapons,” adding:

“I don’t know if they were sold as toys, but our crime scene investigators believe these are replicas of realistic weapons.”

Aziz also noted that he was told by building personnel that Williams had a history of “threats and intimidation and behavioral issues,” which led to him being banned from the property. Aziz said:

“The message to residents is that they did exactly what they should have done. They alerted the residential managers and told them about the issues and the residential managers took the type of actions you would expect to take … They saw something and they said something, and it got us to this point.”

Aziz said he was unsure if there was bodycam footage from the shooting, as the officer had left the scene to be treated for his injuries by the time he arrived. In response to witnesses recalling the incident, the police department released the following statement:

“Chief Aziz spoke about this incident this afternoon. This case is under investigation and we encourage anyone with any information regarding this case to call our detectives at 301-516-5721.”

Regarding the officer involved in the incident, Aziz said:

“He’s an officer that I know and he appears to be from my interaction with him, an exemplary officer, well-known in the community.”

The Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office reviews all officer-involved shootings. 

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Report: Arkansas jury rules that officer did not use excessive force in fatal shooting of armed man

August 24th, 2021

LITTLE ROCK, AR- On Monday, August 16th, an Arkansas jury ruled that Little Rock Police Officer Dennis Hutchins did not use excessive force when he fatally shot 46-year-old Roy Lee Richards Jr. in 2016.

For more than a week, jurors heard testimony in a civil trial that pitted the family of Richards against Hutchins. The ruling dashed Richards’ family’s hopes they would be awarded millions of dollars for the death of the armed man.

According to reports, the incident occurred at 12:40 a.m. on October 25, 2016 when Little Rock Police responded to a call for a fight between Richards and his uncle, Darrell Underwood.

Officer Hutchins and Officer Justin Tyler were warned as they responded to the scene that Richard’s was armed. Authorities stated that as Hutchins approached, Richard’s jumped out of a vehicle holding a gun.

Officer Hutchins opened fire and shot five rounds at Richards. Richards was struck twice and killed. During the investigation, it was determined that Richards’ rifle was a pellet gun. 

The jury learned that Underwood had gone inside around three seconds before Hutchins opened fire, that Richards was pointing the gun at Underwood’s home, and that Richards was in the yard facing the house and walking towards it.

At the time, Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley sent a letter to the Little Rock Police Department on March 2017 that cleared Officer Hutchins of any wrongdoing in connection with the shooting death of Richards. 

Despite the prosecutor having ruled the shooting justified, Richard’s sister filed a civil lawsuit against Hutchins on behalf of her brother’s estate. The suit sought millions of dollars in damages.

The lawsuit argued that Hutchins had used excessive force against her brother and had in doing so violated Richards’ constitutional rights of equal protection and unreasonable search and seizure.

Hutchins’ attorney argued that the 20-year-old veteran officer had no choice but to shoot when he saw Richards holding the rifle after having had a violent altercation with a family member.

Reportedly, the jury deliberated for hours only to come to the conclusion that Hutchins had not used excessive force when he fatally shot Richards. Little Rock Attorney Tom Carpenter said in a statement:

“I think the verdict was appropriate. I think this was a situation where an officer faced, what he felt and what he could tell at that point, was a life-ending possibility and acted to keep that from happening.”

After the jury returned its verdict, lawyers for Richards’ family filed a motion for a mistrial with Chief U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall Jr., arguing that the jurors had engaged in jury nullification by ignoring expert testimony. 

They also said that answers the jury had given on disputed questions were in “conflict.” Speaking on behalf of Cole, attorney Judson Kidd said that the family was “devastated” by the verdict, adding:

“Ms. Cole lost her brother, her only brother. Her protector as she so testified and we have two boys, 14 and 17, who lost their father, lost his financial and emotional support. And we got Roy Richards Sr., the father, who has lost his only son. So, obviously they are devastated by the verdict.”

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Bodycam released: State Attorney ignores ‘activists’, rules officer justified in shooting of knife-wielding attacker

June 4th, 2021

JACKSONVILLE, FL – In February 2020, a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer shot a man who investigators say was threatening the officer with a butcher knife. Now, the body camera footage of the incident has been released. 

According to reports, 39-year-old John Robert Ritter was shot after police said he tried to rob a store on Trout River Boulevard. Investigators said there was a foot chase with police and that a stun gun was deployed but was not successful in immobilizing the suspect.

Investigators said Officer T. Davis fired one shot and that Ritter was transported to the hospital in stable condition.

On February 1st of 2021, the State Attorney’s Office ruled the actions of the Jacksonville officer were justified.

The body camera footage shows a police officer begin chasing after Ritter outside of the grocery store with his gun drawn, and follow him toward a wooded area. 

The officer repeatedly shouts to Ritter:

“Put down the knife. Put down the knife, it’s not worth it”

Ritter then begins telling the officer:

“You better shoot me. You better shoot me,”

The officer deployed his Taser, which was unsuccessful, as Ritter appears to block it with the T-shirt that was in his hands. After several more attempts to have Ritter put down the knife, the officer fires one shot, striking Ritter who falls to the ground. 

Backup arrived at the scene, and Ritter is seen being handcuffed, which is JSO policy. One unit provided aid to Ritter.

The body camera footage matches the original reports of the Sheriff’s Office following the incident. 

In addition to the release of the bodycam, JSO also released a video in which another officer explains the actions taken by the officer in the bodycam video.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said Ritter recovered and was convicted of burglary and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. Court records confirm he received a sentence of 10 years in prison, News 4 reported.

According to the Department of Corrections online database, Ritter was incarcerated on January 7th, and died a mere 20 days later records show. 

News 4 reported that records from the Department of Corrections show Ritter served time behind bars for burglary with assault, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, criminal mischief and trafficking in stolen property. Police records show arrests dating back to 2003.

Law Enforcement Today recently brought you a story on body camera footage that was released in California, showing a homicide suspect, who was a convicted felon, opening fire on a motorcycle officer before being taken out. Here is more on that story. 

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FREMONT, CA –  The Fremont Police Department has released body-cam video of a deadly officer-involved shooting that happened on March 24. Shocking footage captured the moment an armed robbery suspect in a stolen vehicle opened fire on a Fremont Police Department motorcycle officer.

Joshua James Gloria, 34, an Oakland resident, was killed March 24 after he opened fire on Fremont police officer Brian Burch after a short car chase, police said.

The incident occurred on Highway 84 and Ardenwood Blvd. at approximately 2:48 p.m., according to authorities.

Fremont police said that Officer Burch was working traffic enforcement when he heard over his police radio that a vehicle had activated a license plate reader camera in the area. The vehicle had been reported stolen and was wanted in connection with an armed robbery in San Francisco.

 

Officer Burch located the vehicle being operated by Gloria in a shopping center parking lot. Officer Burch followed the vehicle for a short distance awaiting back officers when Gloria began to flee in the vehicle. Officer Burch pursued Gloria.

During the pursuit, Gloria struck several other vehicles, and eventually, the fleeing vehicle became disabled. Fremont police described the events that followed:

“The suspect immediately exited his vehicle with a firearm while running towards and shooting at Officer Burch, who was still on his motorcycle. Officer Burch was forced to move from the motorcycle to avoid the gunshots.

“Fearing for his life after being chased and shot at, Officer Burch immediately drew his department-issued service weapon, and turned around to fire.”

Video shows the suspect straddling the officer’s motorcycle, which was equipped with a department-issued AR-15 rifle. Officer Burch fired several rounds, striking the suspect. Gloria tried to run back to his vehicle but fell to the ground.

The suspect died at the scene.

Officer Burch, a six-year veteran of the department, was miraculously uninjured during the exchange.

Fremont police stated that following the incident, they were contacted by the San Jose Police Department informing them that Gloria had an arrest warrant out of their jurisdiction for attempted homicide and felon in possession of a firearm.

He was wanted in San Jose for allegedly shooting someone multiple times at an illegal gambling hall. Police said Gloria shot the victim several times, including one shot in the back of the head. The victim was critically injured but survived.

The Fremont incident is under investigation by the California Highway Patrol because the shooting occurred in that agency’s jurisdiction.

In the video released, the Fremont Police Department wrote:

“The members of our department deeply value the sanctity of life and dedicate themselves to protecting others at the risk of their own safety.”

Metro officer shot, nearly murdered in ambush at home: ‘This was a ruse to get police to the house’

May 6, 2021

 

 NASHVILLE, TN – A Metro Nashville police officer was shot in an ambush while responding to a “set up” call falsely reporting an active shooter at a home in South Nashville.

https://twitter.com/shannonrwatts/status/1389926472127758338

The shooting was reported just after 6 p.m. in the 7200 block of Sugarloaf Drive, located off of Nolensville Pike.

According to MNPD Public Information Officer Don Aaron, police were called to the residence for a report from a man claiming his brother had shot his mother and that the gunfire was continuing:

“On the 911 call you can hear him saying that he’s scared the shots are continuing to be fired hurry, hurry please get here in a hurry. It’s very concerning what our officers are being confronted with over the past few weeks is very concerning.”

Three officers knocked on the door to the residence. The door opened, and when officers began to make entry into the home, the caller opened fire, striking Officer Brian Sherman in the left arm.

Officers retreated from the home and 22-year-old Salman Mohamed followed them outside into the driveway armed with a rifle. Officers began to negotiate with the man, but he shot himself in the head. He died shortly after of his wounds.

Aaron said the South Precinct officers were not equipped with body cameras. The swat team was equipped with cameras, but the suspect was dead by the time they arrived.

Aaron stressed that no officers fired their weapons during the incident.

Officer Sherman was transported by medics to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where he was treated for his injuries and released late Tuesday night.

https://twitter.com/realstewpeters/status/1389763778863116289

Aaron said Mohamed’s mother and three siblings were in the home, but no one was injured nor were any other shots fired, as he initially reported:

“Again, no one else in the home was hit. This was a ruse or a setup to get the police to come to the house, and as soon as the officers knocked on the door, the door was opened, and they came under fire by Mohammed.”

No motive has been released by authorities, but Aaron said Mohamed appeared intent on luring the officers to the home:

“We believe the person who made the 911 call was Mohamed himself. In fact, on the 911 call, you can hear him saying that he’s scared that shots are continuing to be fired. ‘Hurry, hurry, please get here in a hurry.’ It was all a ruse to get the police officers to this scene.

“Mohammed’s motives for this have not been determined. Obviously, we’ll be talking to his family throughout the evening to try to resolve why he did this. Again, no one else in the home was hit. This was a ruse or a setup to get the police to come to the house, and as soon as the officers knocked on the door, the door was opened, and they came under fire by Mohamed.”

Authorities stated that Mohamed had no previous arrest record, and they were looking to see if he had any prior police contacts.

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