VALLEJO (CBS SF) — Vallejo police released four new videos Tuesday of the night a man was fatally shot by an off-duty Richmond sergeant in November.
Eric Reason, 38, was killed when Sgt. Virgil Thomas, a 27 year veteran of the Richmond Police Department, shot him on Nov. 10 of last year at a shopping complex in the 500 block of Fairgrounds Drive around 5:25 p.m.
According to previous investigations by Vallejo police, Reason, a rapper known as “CheddaMan,” was driving away from gas pumps when Thomas pulled his personal vehicle into the same complex.
Both cars stopped facing each other and Thomas honked his horn to warn Reason of his immediate presence. Thomas pulled into a parking stall and got out of his vehicle. Reason stopped his vehicle perpendicular to Thomas’ vehicle, rolled down his window and yelled at Thomas, police said.
Reason then left his vehicle and walked within inches of Thomas while shouting profanities at the sergeant. Reason walked back to his vehicle, opened the hood and retrieved a rag containing a gun, police said.
Reason approached Thomas with the gun and Thomas fired a shot at Reason in response to an observed threat. Reason fled with the gun and raised it at one point, and Thomas then shot Reason, who was pronounced dead at the scene according to police.
In the new video, the argument can be seen unfolding and the details provided by police investigation were more or less confirmed. Richmond police released a statement Tuesday night responding to the new footage.
“The video clearly reinforces that unfortunately, a firearm was introduced unnecessarily by Mr. Reason. Regrettably, this placed Sgt. Thomas in a position where he was forced to protect himself and the public. We will continue to wait until the investigation is finished for final comment,” said Ben Therriault, President of the Richmond Police Officers Association.
- ALSO READ: Community Questions If Off-Duty Officer Who Shot, Killed Vallejo Man Got Special Treatment
Police said Thomas shot Reason because he believed he posed an immediate threat to him, his wife who was a passenger in his car, and other patrons of the shopping center.
Melissa Nold, an attorney representing Reason’s family, said the Vallejo police account “fails to mention that Mr. Reason was shot in the back of the head while running for his life.”
“I have personally examined the bullet wound on the back of Mr. Reason’s head. The Vallejo police department appears to be providing a criminal defense narrative instead of distributing unbiased facts,” Nold said.