Officer Recovering After Shootout in Richmond
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Richmond police chief promised a thorough investigation after a black man was killed in a shootout with a white officer who was wounded in the exchange of gunfire.
Police Chief Alfred Durham faced an angry crowd of about three dozen people, most of them black, at the shooting scene on Wednesday night and urged them to be patient while authorities investigate. The crowd demanded answers and questioned whether police used too much force.
On Wednesday afternoon, officers responded to a report of an armed man in an area west of downtown, police said. Two officers approached the man, who fled. Police chased him, and shots were fired by police and the suspect. Durham could not say who shot first and how many shots were fired.
The wounded officer, a nine-year veteran, was shot in the arm and is expected to fully recover. It's not clear what race the second officer is. The suspect died at the scene, and police said they recovered a handgun near his body.
Durham told reporters that race didn't have anything to do with the shooting. Officers across the nation have come under greater scrutiny recently as videos and other evidence has shown blacks being mistreated, injured or killed by white officers.
Durham scheduled a news conference for 1 p.m. Thursday.
A witness told the Richmond Times-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1ORDyRc ) that he saw police approach the suspect in an alley.
"They wanted to ask him something — I don't know," said Lois G. Ambriz, who was working a construction job in the area. "He started running away from them."
Ambriz said the man knocked over a trash can as he ran and ducked behind a parked car. That's when the shooting started.
He didn't see who fired first but heard the officer "screaming really bad" after he was shot, Ambriz said.
Ambriz said the suspect ran about 50 feet, firing shots over his shoulder, and was shot by the second officer. He estimated the incident lasted less than a minute and that at least 15 shots were fired.
Police said an officer responding to the scene crashed his car into a pole, flipping the vehicle in a gas station parking lot. The officer was not seriously injured.
The chief said results of the investigation will be turned over to the Richmond prosecutor, who will determine whether the officers acted appropriately.
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