TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) – A Tucson police officer was fired after shooting and killing a man in a mobility scooter who was armed with a knife, Chief Chris Magnus said on Tuesday (November 30).
Magnus said shortly before 6 p.m. on Monday that a Walmart employee near Midvale Park on West Valencia Road visited Agent Ryan Remington, a four-year TPD veteran, who worked in store security in outside of operating hours.
The employee told Remington that Richard Lee Richards, 61, who was in a scooter, allegedly stole a toolbox from the store.
According to Magnus, the employee and Remington followed Richards and asked for a receipt. Richards replied, “Here is your receipt,” pulled out a knife and continued to walk.
The employee told investigators Richards said, “If you want me to put the knife down, you’re going to have to shoot me.”
Another officer, Stephanie Taylor, arrived just as Richards reached the nearby Lowe’s Home Improvement garden center.
Remington then told Richards not to enter the store but Richards ignored him. Remington shot Richards nine times, knocking him off his scooter. Richards died at the scene.
It could be at least a week before Remington is officially fired.
According to the general orders of the TPD, the application must first be submitted to the city attorney’s office for legal review. The employee must then be notified of the termination. From there, the internal affairs office has no more than seven days to schedule a pre-leave review where the employee can object to the termination. After the review committee, members decide whether or not to recommend termination. The recommendation is then given to the police chief for final approval.
Video of the incident was released during a TPD press conference on Tuesday. Below a edited version of this video which shows the foregrounds. KOLD chose not to show the entire video due to its graphic nature. The full video can be viewed HERE.
At Tuesday’s press conference, Magnus said he was “deeply troubled and troubled” by Remington’s actions, which he characterized as excessive use of force. Remington was fired on Tuesday, according to Magnus.
“His use of lethal force in this incident is a flagrant violation of departmental policy and directly contradicts multiple aspects of our use of force and our training,” Magnus said.
Mike Storie, who represents Remington, was not satisfied with Magnus’ statements or actions.
“How about taking a breath,” Storie said. “How about looking at witness statements. How about watching it all rather than worrying about “oh, I have a confirmation hearing in Washington”
Storie refers to the fact that Magnus was nominated to become the next United States Customs and Border Protection Commissioner.
The case is under review by the Pima County Prosecutor’s Office.
Pima County District Attorney Laura Conover posted a statement on Facebook on Wednesday.
“The PCAO, the People’s Office, holds it sacred the impartial examination of the facts of every incident that comes before us,” she wrote. “Once we have received the evidence of this incident, we will conduct such a review. In the meantime, we will not comment further on this matter. “
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero weighed in on the shooting on Tuesday.
“The actions of the officer involved in last night’s fatal shooting are inadmissible and indefensible,” she said. “The county attorney’s office has my full support as they continue their investigation. It is times like this that test our resolve to ensure justice and accountability. We owe it to all Tucsonians. I ask our community to remain calm and be patient as the investigations ensue. “
Storie also hit back at Romero’s comments.
“What I find disgusting is that the mayor is now not only trying to control the police department, but she’s telling the county attorney he should be charged,” he said. “Why doesn’t she just stay in her office and let these things run on her own?” “
At a press conference on Wednesday, Storie said he was deeply troubled by Romero’s comments and believed it could bias the community.
Romero responded after the press conference on Wednesday, saying: “The police union is not the most objective arbiter in this case. The video speaks for itself. As I mentioned yesterday, I ask our community to remain calm and be patient as the investigations ensue. “
According to the Arizona Department of Corrections, Richards has a long, violent criminal record.
In 1981, he was convicted of burglary and sentenced to seven years in prison. In 1986, he was convicted of armed robbery and was sentenced to 15 years.
In 2007, he was convicted of attempted first degree murder, aggravated assault and resisting arrest. He was released in January 2018.
In early 2020, Richards was convicted in federal court of “transporting illegal aliens for profit”. In November 2020, his probation was revoked and he was sentenced to five months in prison. He was due to start serving this sentence in April 2021.
According to a 2021 sentencing memo, Richards underwent hip replacement surgery in prison and he “didn’t heal properly.” His lawyer at the time, Brick P Storts III, said that was the reason he was in a wheelchair.
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