VALLEJO (KPIX 5) — A Vallejo man was shot and killed Sunday by an off-duty Richmond police officer in what residents say may have been a dispute over a parking space. The community Monday was questioning whether the shooter got special treatment because of his position.
Family, friends and community members gathered at the gas station on Fairgrounds Drive where the shooting occurred and, with little information coming from either Vallejo or Richmond police, residents were left with only questions, like why did the off-duty police officer begin shooting? And why was he not detained afterwards?
“This officer who was off-duty, in my mind, has no greater standing than a citizen, although he’s licensed to carry his weapon off-duty…we understand that,” said one resident who wanted to remain anonymous.
“If he wasn’t arrested and taken downtown, then that begs a lot of questions in my mind. I’m wondering why was he given any special deference by the responding officers?”
The deceased man has been identified by family as Eric Reasons, a father of six who was a local rap artist, performing under the name, “Cheddaman.” The shooter, who Richmond police are not identifying, is said to be a veteran officer, now on leave pending an investigation.
Patricia Perez’s grandson Pedie was killed by Richmond police in 2014 and believes the department hires people who are too quick to use a gun.
“I’m seeing the same thing and the kicker is…it was a Richmond, off-duty cop who did it,” she said. “Something is terribly wrong.”
“When is this going to come to an end?” said a black woman at the gathering. “When are people going to take this seriously? When are people going to realize that our lives matter?”
With no information released, the community is left to speculate and the people at the scene say this only deepens the divide between police and the black community, even though it’s their understanding the officer was also black.
“When they weaponize skin color, it’s the enemy, no matter what,” said the man who believed special treatment was given. “And it doesn’t matter that you have the same skin color because it appears that blue is the one that matters.”
Vallejo has been rocked by controversial police shootings and on Tuesday, the city will swear in its first black police chief. The fact that Sunday’s shooting happened at the hands of a Richmond police officer isn’t likely to make the new chief’s job any easier.
Richmond and Vallejo police were not available for on-camera interviews Monday, but both will be conducting investigations of the shooting as well the Solano County District Attorney’s Office.