Officer Fired After Fatally Shooting Surrendering Man; Family Commends Police Department For ”Swift Acceptance of Responsibility”

A San Bernardino officer has finally been fired one year after he fatally shot a man who surrendered with both hands in the air.

Richard John Sanchez was fatally shot by Brandon Gaddie after he and another officer responded to a home in the High Highlands neighborhood of San Bernardino after 10 p.m. Sept. 28. A woman called saying Gaddie was intoxicated and threatening family members, according to acting chief of police Eric McBride. Just minutes later, the woman called back to report that Sanchez was armed and that she had taken off from the home with children, but Sanchez was still in the home, threatening people inside. “Family members and witnesses describe Sanchez as intoxicated and making irrational statements such as he had everybody under his control because he was God,” McBride said.

San Bernardino Officer Kills man

The dispatcher saw that Sanchez had a warrant out for his arrest and let the responding officers know. NBC News reports that Sanchez allegedly made terrorist threats during a domestic dispute. Upon arrival, video footage, which was released on Friday, showed Sanchez “suddenly, and without being told to do so,” start to walk toward the officers. He takes eight steps as the officers order him to put his hands up. Although he complies, he also keeps walking toward them. Gaddie then shoots at Sanchez five times. Sanchez is then seen falling to the ground on the front lawn. The officers called for medics, but Sanchez had already died. A Smith & Wesson .40 caliber handgun was recovered at the scene, according to police. 

McBride said the review determined Gaddie’s “decision making did not meet the standards held by our department or the community we serve,” and “disciplinary action has been initiated,” but he did not say whether the officer had been fired or had resigned. The San Bernardino District Attorney’s Office, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment, is now investigating the shooting to determine whether or not Gaddie’s actions were lawful, McBride said. Attorney Brian Dunn, who is representing the Sanchez family, said in a statement that while his clients are still “overcome with grief over the sudden and unexpected loss of their beloved husband, brother, father, and son,” they are “honored and encouraged by the swift acceptance of responsibility by the leadership of the San Bernardino Police Department.”

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