A Tucson police officer has been fired after he was accused of shooting a shoplifting suspect in a wheelchair nine times, killing him, after the man brandished a knife, authorities said Tuesday.
Police announced at a news conference that Officer Ryan Remington was being terminated for excessive use of force.
Authorities said Richard Lee Richards, 61, died at the scene, and the shooting was recorded on Remington’s body camera.
The man killed, 61-year-old Richard Lee Richards, was in a motorized wheelchair at the time and had brandished a knife, but had his back to the officer at the time of the shooting.
Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus held a press conference Tuesday afternoon to share videos of the incident, which started at the Walmart on Valencia Road near Midvale Road.
Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus said he was “deeply disturbed and troubled” by Remington’s actions and the case is under review by the Pima County Attorney’s Office.
“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 and training,” Magnus said.
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero said in a statement that Remington’s actions were “unconscionable and indefensible,” and the County Attorney’s Office has her full support as it proceeds with its investigation.
It was at the Walmart where Richards reportedly stole a toolbox, and an employee alerted off-duty TPD officer and security liason Ryan Remington..
According to Magnus, the employee said he caught up with Richards as he fled the store and asked for a receipt for items he was carrying, to which Richards brandished a knife and replied “Here’s my receipt,” before continuing toward the Lowe’s garden-section entrance.
Remington followed after Richards across the Walmart parking lot and then into the nearby Lowe’s parking lot.
As Richards continued, he apparently also said that if police wanted him to drop the knife, they would have to shoot him.
At that point, Remington was joined by another officer, and both followed Richards toward the Lowe’s.
Both yelled for Richards to stop as he reached the garden-section entrance before Remington fired his weapon nine times, striking Richards in the back and side, before he fell from his wheelchair.
Magnus said that both officers rendered Richards first aid before he was declared dead on scene.
Magnus confirmed that the department began termination proceedings against Remington earlier Tuesday before leaving the press conference without taking questions. The Pima County Attorney’s Office is reviewing the incident.
“To be very clear, I am deeply disturbed and troubled by Officer Remington’s actions,” Magnus said. “His use of deadly force in this incident is a clear violation of department policy.”