Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend

Officer wounds man who pointed gunat himafter pursuit, chief says

- BY ALI ROCKETT arockett@timesdispa­tch.com (804) 649-6527 Twitter: @AliRockett­RTD

A Richmond police officer shot and wounded a man on New Year’s Eve in the city’s East End.

The man is expected the survive, police said.

The man was pointing a gun and running toward the officer when that officer shot the man, according to the account Police Chief Gerald Smith gave Thursday night near the scene at the Oliver Crossing Apartments, which are next to the Mosby Court public housing community.

The incident began about 5: 05 p. m. when two officers attempted to stop a vehicle — Smith said it was being driven recklessly and the officers saw it running stop signs and red lights — at the intersecti­on of North 20th Street and Fairmount Avenue.

The vehicle failed to stop and was pursued to the 1300 block of Coalter Street, where the vehicle crashed into a parked car, Smith said.

The man— the sole occupant of the vehicle that officers were pursuing— exited “with a gun in hand and attempted to flee, coming toward the officers and pointed the weapon at an officer, and the officer discharged his weapon in fear of his life,” Smith said.

It is unclear how many shots the officer fired or if the other officers who had arrived on the scene also fired, Smith said. Police collected three cartridge casings from the scene, he said.

It’s also unclear whether the man fired the handgun that police recovered from the scene. It has a purple grip.

“We have reviewed BWC and it is clear footage that he pointed that weapon at an officer,”

said Smith, who added that he hadn’t seen the body- worn camera footage himself. “I have not but my staff has, and we are reviewing it right now. Once I leave here, I’m going to review it all myself, too.”

The wounded man was taken to a hospital with injuries that police said were not life- threatenin­g. Responding officers rendered medical assistance on the scene, police said.

Police had not charged the man as of Thursday night.

The car the man had been driving, which had front- end damage, was towed from the scene shortly before 8 p. m.

The officer was being interviewe­d Thursday night, Smith said. He would be placed on administra­tive leave, as is the department’s protocol following an officerinv­olved shooting.

As police were investigat­ing the shooting, dozens of volleys of gunfire echoed nearby. The officers on the scene didn’t immediatel­y react, nor did many of the residents passing under the crime scene tape.

Oneman twisted his leg as he ducked for cover after several shots rang out very close by.

“Bullets don’t have no name on them,” he said as he limped past.

Earlier in the week, Richmond police warned against celebrator­y gunfire for New Year’s and said they would have heightened patrols in the East End public housing communitie­s.

Between 10: 30 p. m. on Dec. 31, 2019, and 1 a. m. on Jan. 1, 2020, Richmond police received

226 calls reporting random gunfire, and most came from four public housing neighborho­ods: Creighton, Whitcomb, Mosby and Fairfield courts.

“It’s not a time to be celebrator­y firing,” Smith said at the Mosby scene, acknowledg­ing the sporadic gunfire. “It’s time for us to just be with family and appreciate each other and celebrate in different ways.”

Another shooting was reported in Whitcomb Court earlier Thursday, but Smith said police found no victim or evidence of gunfire.

Anyone with informatio­n about the officer- involved shooting is asked to call Major Crimes Detective B. Thompson at ( 804) 646- 3925 or Crime Stoppers at ( 804) 780- 1000.

 ?? ALI ROCKETT/TIMES-DISPATCH ?? RichmondPo­liceChief GeraldSmit­h talks near the scene where anofficer shot andwounded an armed man. Smith said themanled police on a chase that ended on CoalterStr­eet at the Oliver CrossingAp­artments.
ALI ROCKETT/TIMES-DISPATCH RichmondPo­liceChief GeraldSmit­h talks near the scene where anofficer shot andwounded an armed man. Smith said themanled police on a chase that ended on CoalterStr­eet at the Oliver CrossingAp­artments.

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