VALLEJO, Calif. (AP) — The city of Vallejo released four surveillance videos showing a city resident retrieving a gun from his van during an argument over a parking spot with an off-duty police officer, who then fatally shoots the man as he walks away.
The four videos without audio released Tuesday on the city's YouTube channel show Richmond Police Sgt. Virgil Thomas and Eric Reason, 38, arguing after Thomas pulls into a parking spot. Moments later, Reason walks to his van stopped in the middle of the parking lot, opens the hood of his van and retrieves a weapon wrapped in a rag.
Reason returns to where Thomas is standing while holding the gun. The two again exchange words before Thomas pulls out a weapon from his waist and starts shooting at Reason as he walks away.
As Reason runs away, the 27-year police veteran then rushes to the middle of the parking lot and continues to fire at Reason while he runs toward the street, where he falls to the ground. Reason was pronounced dead at the scene.
An attorney for the Reason family said Reason was shot in the back of the head, the East Bay Times reported.
Thomas was put on administrative leave pending the investigation, which is being conducted by Vallejo police and the Solano County District Attorney.
Days after the Nov. 10 shooting, Vallejo police issued a statement saying Thomas was legally defending himself, though the investigation is ongoing.
Richmond police union president Ben Therriault said in a statement Tuesday that the video proves Thomas acted in self-defense.
“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,” Therriault said.
Melissa Nold, a civil rights attorney representing the Reason’s family, has previously accused Thomas of escalating the situation and provoking the deadly result.
“This video shows a cold-blooded murder,” Nold told the newspaper. “I want to know why Eric Reason’s murderer isn’t in custody.”
Reason was known as a local rapper who went by the stage name “Cheddaman.” Relatives told KTVU that Reason was a father of six who was working in construction.</p>