Two SWAT officers with the Sacramento police department shot and killed a man they say pointed a gun at them early Thursday morning. It was later discovered that the man was holding a pellet gun.
Police spokesman Sgt. Vance Chandler told the Sacramento Bee, “At the time, he posed an immediate threat to officers, and two SWAT officers fired on the suspect.” The suspect’s name has not been released.
The Sacramento Police Department released a 911 call as well as a media advisory explaining the incident. The department said officers responded to a 911 call about a “suspicious subject walking with a mask and a gun” at 11:32 p.m. The 911 caller said was wearing a mask on his face, wearing a black hoodie, grey pants and carrying a black backpack. The caller also indicated that the man had pointed a gun at numerous people.
At 11:36 p.m., a CHP airplane flying over the area reportedly alerted officers to the suspect’s location. He was later spotted by a patrol officer at 11:38 p.m., and police said the suspect climbed over a fence onto a residential property.
“For the safety of everyone involved, and based on the suspect being armed, officers on scene immediately set up a perimeter to contain the suspect. SWAT and K9 Teams responded to continue the search,” the department said in its release.
Police said the SWAT and K9 units arrived at 12:42 a.m. and they developed a tactical plan and began to search for the suspect again at 1:36 a.m.
The suspect was discovered hiding under a stairwell in the backyard of an occupied home at 3:12 a.m. Police said he had a gun in his hand, and when they ordered him to drop it, he pointed it at them. The officers fired at the suspect, then rendered medical aid until paramedics arrived and took over. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.
Officers recovered a knife and a pellet gun they say is a replica of a Sig Sauer P225 9mm handgun.
The two officers who did the shooting have 11 and 17 years with the Sacramento Police Department. Neither officer was injured, and both have been placed on administrative leave as is standard protocol. There is an active investigation into the shooting,
As the Bee notes, this is at least the third confirmed officer-involved shooting that has resulted in the death of a suspect in Sacramento County this year so far. In April, a 26-year-old man was killed during a confrontation at a hotel in Elk Grove.
In March, officers shot and killed 22-year-old Stephon Clark as he stood in the backyard of his grandmother’s home. Those officers said they thought Clark was holding a gun, but it turned out to be a cellphone. The investigation into Clark’s shooting has still not been completed six-and-a-half months after his death.
Updated Friday, Sept. 7, 9:33 a.m. EST:
The Sacramento County Coroner’s Office has identified the person shot and killed by two Sacramento Police Department SWAT officers early Thursday morning as 19-year-old Darell Richards—a black teenager.
The police department said in a media release that because the shooting falls under the City Council policy on Police Use of Force, audio and video from the incident will be released to the public within 30 days.
In the meantime, friends, family, activists and community members posted on social media Thursday, outraged by the shooting and calling it unjustified.
Some, like Miya Jackson, questioned why officers were not able to bring Richards in alive as they have so many white shooters who have actually shot and killed people—including mass shooters such as Dylann Roof and James Holmes. Jackson wrote the following in a public post on Facebook:
This is long but I am having an extremely hard time comprehending how police officers across the nation can manage to de-escalate, disarm and successfully arrest some people without loss of life ... here’s some examples:
Dylan Roof killed 9- alive
James Holmes killed 12-alive
Lance Tamayo pointed a 9mm pistol at police-alive
Robert Lewis killed 3 and wounded 9-alive
Julia Shields shot at cars passing by-alive
177 bikers have a shoot out amongst each other with no police intervention-all those except the ones killed by other bikers are guess what... alive
Derreck Thomas shoot-out with the police-alive
I could go on...
But what about Korryn Gaines? She’s dead!
Why are cops so trigger happy when it comes to black people?! Why is excessive force the go to for us?! It doesn’t matter if they are unarmed and complying or armed and resisting ... it’s like the rule in either case is to shoot to kill. The latest victim to the growing list of murder by police in Sac is 19 y/o Darrell Richards. There is so much wrong with the information that has been released ... I don’t trust Sac PD at all! I’m just so tired of seeing my people slaughtered like animals and zero accountability! It’s too much! #justicefordarellrichards
In a post shared by Black Lives Matter Sacramento, Aika Eden wrote, “My family friend, Darell Richards, who was ONLY 18 YEARS YOUNG, was MURDERED by Sacramento Police Department. Darrell was a beautiful fucking soul, he did not deserve to die. This system we are currently under needs to be over thrown. There are too many innocent lives being taken by law enforcement. I am disgusted. Rest in Peace, Darell. I love you so much. Sending love and healing to all of your loved ones. #JusticeforDarellRichards”
Tanya Faison, founder of the Sacramento chapter of Black Lives Matter, told The Root late Thursday night: “Since Stephon [Clark], police killed Brandon Smith on June 6 (exactly three months ago)and hit a 15-year-old boy with a cruiser while he was on his bicycle for not having a reflector. Our local police department is feeling more powerful than ever. They kill people and get away with it, so we can expect it to continue to happen”
“The community is sad, tired, and angry,” Faison continued. “We will fight for this family however they ask us to fight for their loss of a child.”
“The Sacramento Police Department recently created a policy around using more forms of non-lethal force to de-escalate situations. They claim to have done this [in this instance]. They claim to have even used a K-9. My question is how come the K-9 couldn’t catch a 19-year-old hiding in a backyard? We do not believe their narrative. There are tons of holes in their story, and we are going to make sure the community knows the truth. We are tired of adding names to our long list of people killed at the hands of local law enforcement. It has to stop!”