Tucson Police Officer Fired After Shooting Man in Wheelchair to Death

In Summary

A police officer in Tucson, who has been with the force for four years, killed a man in a motorized wheelchair after shooting him in the back and side nine times.  

WARNING: This story contains details of police violence.  

A police officer in Tucson, Arizona, was fired Tuesday after he shot and killed a man in a motorized wheelchair.  

According to The New York Times, on Monday, a Walmart employee contacted officer Ryan Remington, who was working as a security officer at the store, and told them 61-year-old Richard Lee Richards stole a toolbox.  

When Richards was asked for a receipt, he said, “Here’s your receipt” while showing a knife, an employee told police. The Walmart employee also alleged Richards said, “If you want me to put down the knife, you’re going to have to shoot me.”  

As Richards moved from the Walmart parking lot to the lot of a Lowe’s across the street, Remington and another officer followed and told him to stop. Footage captured the incident and showed the moment Remington discharged his gun, firing nine shots, hitting Richards in the back and side before he fell out of the wheelchair. Remington then placed handcuffs on Richards’ motionless body at the entrance of the store as an employee watched in shock.  

Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus said he was “deeply disturbed and troubled” by the officer’s actions. “His use of deadly force in this incident is a clear violation of department policy and directly contradicts multiple aspects of our use of force training. As a result, the department moved earlier today to terminate Officer Remington,” he said.  

Regina Romero, the mayor of Tucson, said she supports a full investigation and called Remington’s actions “unconscionable.” She said, “The county attorney has my full support as they proceed with their investigation. It is moments like this that test our resolve to ensure justice and accountability.”  

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Richards had a lengthy criminal history and his former attorney, Brick P. Storts III, said the man had physical health issues ranging from a hip replacement to “infection problems.” He believed the shooting of his former client was uncalled for. “It was just so bizarre. I could understand how he could maybe be a problem, but you don’t shoot someone in the back nine times in a wheelchair,” he said. “If you did it, you’d be looking at more problems than you’d care to believe.”  

Mike Storie is an attorney representing Remington. He described the actions and comments made by the city’s police chief and mayor as politically motivated. He also has asserted his client “attempted to de-escalate the situation” until he had no choice but to use deadly force.  

In a press conference Wednesday, Storie alleged the body camera video released did not show all of the facts, alleging Richards made statements indicating suicide by cop.  

This is a developing story. 

If you or someone you know is struggling from trauma triggered by this story, resources are available here.   

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