An Arizona police department fired an officer Tuesday for allegedly shooting and killing a man in a wheelchair after he produced a knife.
In a video of the incident released by police, Tucson Police Officer Ryan Remington appears to shoot Richard Lee Richards, a 61-year-old man in a wheelchair, nine times as Richards attempted to enter a Lowe’s hardware store. Remington was been alerted to Richards’ presence by a Walmart loss prevention employee who alleged that Richards stole a toolbox for the store, according to police.
Remington followed Richards and asked for a receipt. “Here’s my receipt,” Richards said, brandishing a knife as he prepared to enter the store, according to police.
Remington can be heard ordering Richards not to enter the store, though Richards appears to ignore these orders and continue to wheel towards the store’s entrance. Remington allegedly proceeded to shoot Richards nine times.
“His use of deadly force in this incident is a clear violation of department policy and directly contradicts multiple aspects of our use of force training,” Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus said in a press conference Tuesday when he said Remington would be fired.
Remington’s attorney, Mike Storie, told the Associated Press his client “had no non-lethal options.”
“He did have a taser, but in his mind, he couldn’t use it because he didn’t feel he had the proper spread to deploy it, with the wheelchair between him and Richards,” Storie said.
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero condemned Remington’s actions in a statement Tuesday.
“The actions of the officer involved in last night’s deadly shooting are unconscionable and indefensible,” Romero said. “The County Attorney’s Office has my full support as they proceed with their investigation. It is moments like this that test our resolve to ensure justice and accountability.”
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