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Tucson police attorney: Man killed in Monday officer-involved shooting may have planned ‘suicide by cop’

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 11:28 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - All the facts are not currently present in the case of an officer who shot and killed a man in a mobility scooter on Monday, Nov. 28, according to Tucson Police Officers Association attorney Mike Storie.

“We’re currently getting facts every day,” he said. “We’re not going to rush to judgment.”

The shooting is currently under review by the Pima County Attorney’s Office. While Storie trusts county prosecutors to be fair, he said, he’s concerned that statements made about the incident by Mayor Regina Romero may unfairly sway the public’s opinion and could taint a jury pool, if the officer is charged and goes to trial.

Romero on Tuesday, Nov. 30, called the officer’s actions “indefensible,” and voiced her support for prosecutors during the investigation. Storie called Romero “irresponsible,” and said her statement “bastardized” the investigation process.

Storie said during a news conference Wednesday, Dec. 1, officer Ryan Remington followed 61-year-old Richard Lee Richards, who was in a scooter, from Walmart to Lowe’s on West Valencia Road after Richards stole a toolbox from the store and then pulled a knife on an employee who asked to see the receipt for the item.

Police said previously the incident took place shortly before 6 p.m. The officer had been working off-duty security at the store when the employee notified him of the incident.

Storie claimed Richards made several statements to Remington, as Remington followed him, that indicated he planned to commit “suicide by cop.” Additionally, Storie said, Richards had a history of criminal behavior and aggression towards law enforcement.

Storie said Remington tried to de-escalate the situation until Richards reached the entrance to Lowe’s. Because Richards had a knife and allegedly used it to threaten someone, Storie said, he shot him.

Video of the incident, provided by the Tucson Police Department, shows Remington firing his gun at Richards eight times, pausing and firing one more round at him before Richards falls out of the scooter.

“All he’s shown is noncompliance and a willingness to threaten someone and make them fear for their life,” Storie said of Richards.

While Remington did have a Taser, Storie said, he didn’t have the space to use it when Richards reached the Lowe’s entrance.

TPD Chief Chris Magnus said on Tuesday officers had moved to terminate Remington. However, it could be at least a week before Remington is officially fired.

A request to terminate an officer must be submitted to the city’s attorney for legal review before the officer is notified of the termination. From there, the office of internal affairs has up to a week to schedule a pre-discharge review, where the officer can appeal. After that review, panel members decide whether they should recommend termination, and that recommendation is turned over to the police chief for final approval.

Storie said Remington plans to appeal the department’s decision if he is fired.

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