RICHMOND, Va. — Officers fatally shot a man who was making threats as he walked around Virginia’s capital city with an ax and a long knife, wearing nothing but a kilt and combat-style boots, police and witnesses said.
Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham told reporters that his officers encountered the man after receiving complaints from several locations around town Tuesday morning.
The chief said they tried to get him to drop his weapons, using “de-escalation techniques” and deploying a Taser, but he wouldn’t comply.
The police chief said his officers then shot the man, who was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Durham said one officer was hit in what appears to be friendly fire, but his body armor prevented serious injury.
The shooting happened just outside the 3rd Street Diner, where bartender Taryn Kelly was working.
“The first thing I saw was a bunch of police approaching with their service weapons drawn,” she said. Kelly said she saw around 10 officers.
She said the man, whom police did not immediately identify, was white and appeared to be in his 30s with a red beard. He was acting erratically, kicking his legs in the air and waving the weapons at one officer in particular, she said.
“Then everyone shot him, and he died immediately,” Kelly said.
Kelly said she could hear the officers giving the man orders and could see them trying to de-escalate the situation.
“It definitely wasn’t a police brutality thing,” Kelly said. “I knew what was going to happen when I saw him attacking them, basically.”
Police said in a statement that detectives have interviewed the officers involved and several eyewitnesses, and will review body camera videos. The officers involved are on administrative leave, Durham said, and he’ll release their names once he’s “assured there is no threat of retaliation against them.”