Attorney: Richmond officer didn’t identify himself as police before deadly shooting

Bay Area

VALLEJO (KRON) — New information is surfacing on the deadly shooting over the weekend involving an off-duty Richmond police officer.

A source familiar with the incident tells KRON4 that the ordeal began when two men exited their vehicles and it escalated to an argument that ended with an off duty Richmond Police officer shooting 39-year-old Eric Reason. 

An attorney representing the family of the man killed told KRON4 on Tuesday that her client would still be alive if the officer had done one thing. 

The shooting occurred Sunday night just before 5:30 p.m. on along Fairground Drive.

Reason was pronounced dead at the scene. 

A witness said the incident was captured on surveillance video that is now in the hands of investigators with Vallejo police 

Civil rights attorney Melissa Nold is now representing the Reason family. 

“We absolutely want the videos released immediately. They’re maintaining that the incident happened a certain way. I heard from witnesses that it happened a different way,” Nold said. 

A source tells KRON4 that reason just finished gassing up his vehicle, started driving toward the exit when the off-duty Richmond officer who has now been identified as Sgt. Virgil Thomas drove his car in front of reason’s vehicle and parked in an open space

“And apparently Mr. Reason got in his way to some degree and he begins honking his horn and screaming,” Nold said. 

Nold says the officer initiated the screaming. 

“The officer is the person that initiated the screaming because he was the person apparently inconvenienced by Mr. Reason delay in getting out of the parking lot,” she said. 

The Richmond Police Officers Association released a social media message that reads in part, “Unfortunately when a police officer is confronted by a felon armed with a firearm, deadly force may be necessary”

However Nold says the off-duty officer did not identify himself. 

She says she believes if he did Mr. Reason would still be alive

“It is very different to get into an altercation with another grown man over some kind of dispute and a person saying ‘I am a police officer,’” the attorney said. “People don’t want to get into a shoot out with the police. If the person would have identified himself as a police officer this would not have happened.”

KRON4 contacted the Vallejo Police Department to see what they have to say about this, but received no comment. 

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