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Tucson police officer to be fired after fatally shooting armed man in mobility scooter

Ryan Remington was off-duty working security at a shopping center at time of incident
Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 6:48 PM MST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2021 at 11:28 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A Tucson police officer will be terminated after he shot and killed a man in a mobility scooter who was armed with a knife, Chief Chris Magnus said Tuesday, Nov. 30.

Magnus said shortly before 6 p.m. Monday an employee at the Walmart near Midvale Park on West Valencia Road went to officer Ryan Remington, a four-year veteran of the TPD, who was working off-duty security at the store.

The employee told Remington that 61-year-old Richard Lee Richards, 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 responded, “here’s your receipt,” pulled out a knife and kept moving.

The employee told investigators that Richards said, “If you want me to put down the knife, you’re going to have to shoot me.”

Another officer, Stephanie Taylor, arrived just as Richards reached the Garden Center of the nearby Lowe’s Home Improvement.

Remington then told Richards to not enter the store but Richards ignored him. Remington shot Richards nine times, causing him to fall out of his scooter. Richards died at the scene.

It could be at least a week until Remington will be officially fired.

According to TPD’s general orders, the request 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 office of internal affairs has no more than seven days to schedule a pre-discharge review where the employee can argue against termination. Following the review panel members decide whether to recommend termination. The recommendation is then given to the chief of police for final approval.

Graphic Video From Incident

Video from the incident was played during a TPD news conference Tuesday. Below is an edited version of that video that shows the first few shots. KOLD has chosen not to show the whole video due to its graphic nature. The full video can be viewed HERE.

Response Following Incident

In Tuesday’s news conference Magnus said he was “deeply disturbed and troubled” by Remington’s actions, which he called excessive use of force. Remington was terminated Tuesday, according to Magnus.

“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.

Mike Storie, who is representing Remington, wasn’t happy with Magnus’ statements or actions.

“How about take a breath,” Storie said. “How about look at the witness statements. How about look at everything rather than worry about ‘oh I have a confirmation hearing in D.C.”

Storie is referring to the fact Magnus was nominated to become the next commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The case is under review by the Pima County Attorney’s Office.

On Wednesday, Pima County Attorney Laura Conover released a statement on Facebook.

“PCAO, The People’s Office, holds sacred the impartial review of the facts of every incident referred to us,” she wrote. “Once we receive the evidence in this incident, we will conduct such a review. Until such time, we will not comment further on this matter.”

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero weighed in Tuesday about the shooting.

“The actions of the officer involved in last night’s deadly shooting are unconscionable and indefensible,” she 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. We owe this to all Tucsonans. I ask our community to remain calm and be patient as investigations ensue.”

Storie also struck back at Romero’s comments.

“What I find disgusting is the mayor now is not only trying to control the police department, but she is telling the county attorney that he should be indicted,” he said. “Why doesn’t she just stay in her office and let these things operate independently?”

During a press conference Wednesday, Storie said he’s deeply troubled about Romero’s comments and feels it can bias the community.

Romero responded after the press conference Wednesday stating, “The police union is not the most objective arbiter in this matter. The video speaks for itself. As I mentioned yesterday, I ask our community to remain calm and be patient as investigations ensue.”

Suspect’s Past

Richard Lee Richards was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer in Tucson on Monday,...
Richard Lee Richards was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer in Tucson on Monday, Nov. 29.(Arizona Department of Corrections)

According to the Arizona Department of Corrections, Richards has a long violent criminal history.

In 1981, he was found guilty 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 sentenced in federal court on a charge of “transporting illegal aliens for profit.” In November 2020, his probation was revoked and he was sentenced to five months in prison. He was set to start serving that sentence in April 2021.

According to a 2021 sentencing memo, Richards had a hip replacement while in prison and it “did not heal properly.” His attorney at the time, Brick P Storts III, said that is why he was in a wheelchair.

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