Vallejo police issues statement on shooting
Eric Reason, 38, was shot in parking lot by off duty Richmond police officer on Nov. 10.
Vallejo police have released additional details about the fatal shooting by an off-duty Richmond officer which left a 38-year-old Vallejo man dead following an altercation inside the parking lot of JJ’s Fish and Chicken on Nov. 10.
Police said Eric Reason, 38, was pulling away from the Valero gas station located in the same shopping center, when Sgt. Virgil Thomas, who was driving his personal vehicle, pulled into the parking lot.
“The two vehicles momentarily stopped while facing one another and Sgt. Thomas honked his car horn to audibly warn the other driver of his immediate presence,” said Lt. Fabio Rodriguez in a press release.
As Thomas, a 27-year veteran of the force, parked his vehicle in one of the stalls and got out of his vehicle, Reason rolled down his car window and began shouting from his car, police said. Reason then got out of his vehicle and walked toward Thomas while continuing to shout at him.
“Reason then walked back to his vehicle, opened the hood, and retrieved a rag containing a handgun,” Rodriguez added. “Reason armed himself with a handgun and approached Sgt.Thomas a second time. Sgt. Thomas subsequently drew his weapon and fired at Reason in response to an observed threat.”
Rodriguez said Reason then fled with the gun in his hand “and at some point raised the gun.” That’s when Thomas, police said, fearing for his safety and that of his wife, who was a passenger in the car, and other persons in the area, fired his weapon again at Reason.
Reason was pronounced dead at the scene.
Reached for comment, Melissa Nold, an Oakland civil rights attorney, who is representing Reason’s mother, said the facts don’t support the account of events released by Vallejo police.
“Not surprisingly, the narrative presented by the Vallejo Police Department contradicts eyewitness accounts,” Nold said.
“I can personally confirm that Mr. Reason was shot in the back of the head and had bullet wounds on the back of both arms, so I am hard pressed to understand how Mr. Reason, who never opened fire, was a threat to the officer when was gunned down from a distance while running away.”
She also questioned why Thomas may have been allowed to stand over the body of Reason after the shooting. Nold shared a photo on her Facebook page on Nov. 12 which purports to show Thomas holding his cell phone while in close proximity to Reason’s body. Reason is seen in the still image laying face down in the middle of Sereno Drive
“Not surprisingly, they have yet explained why the homicide suspect was standing over Mr. Reason’s body in violation of their officer-involved shooting protocol,” she added.
The Vallejo Police Department didn’t return a request for comment on why Thomas was allowed to stand so close to the body and was the officer sequestered after the fatal shooting.
Although Thomas wasn’t on-duty, local authorities have invoked Solano County’s protocol for officer-involved shootings, which means the district attorney will join Vallejo police to investigate what happened.
Reason, a father of six and construction worker, was also known as Cheddaman, a local Vallejo rapper who appeared on a popular 2009 compilation album “Country Club Crest: 3 C’s Down.”
Members of Reason’s family, friends held a vigil in the parking lot the day after the shooting.
“My son was an awesome young man. He was raised very well, very respectful. He had six kids and now his kids are fatherless,” Reason’s mother, Stephanie Bass, told reporters before the vigil. “He didn’t deserve to die like that.”
Anyone with information or who may have witnessed this incident is encouraged to contact Detective S. Yates (707) 648-4533 or Detective J. Scott (707) 648-4531.