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State's Attorney finds Peoria police officers were justified in using fatal force in Samuel Richmond shooting

Samuel "Vincent" Richmond, known as "Meat Man" to his community, spent 35 years employed at the Kroger in Peoria's East Bluff neighborhood.
Eterica Bradley
Samuel "Vincent" Richmond, known as "Meat Man" to his community, spent 35 years employed at the Kroger in Peoria's East Bluff neighborhood.

Peoria County State's Attorney Jodi Hoos said four Peoria police officers were justified in using deadly force against Samuel Richmond last fall.

That means no charges will be filed against Candice Fillpot, Christopher Heaton, Danny Marx, or Andrew Fuller. The four officers were working in administrative roles out of the public eye as the investigation was ongoing.

"It appears that Mr. Richmond, although most likely not wanting to hurt anyone other than himself, acted in a manner that left officers with no choice but to use deadly force, often referred to as ‘suicide by police,'" Hoos said in a prepared statement.

Hoos cited multiple comments Richmond made about taking his own life, as well as a handwritten note where he refers to going to rest at peace.

Citing police reports and body camera footage, Hoos said officers initially encountered Richmond standing behind a tree in Martin Luther King Jr. Park. She said an officer asked him twice to show his hands, but he didn't comply. She said Richmond instead came out from behind the tree, raised a gun, and pointed it at the officer.

The officer then fired, Hoos said. She said Richmond then fell forward on his knees while still holding the gun. She said other officers arrived and saw him holding the gun, and they repeatedly told him to drop the gun. He still refused, and was shot again by officers, Hoos said.

"Upon review of the facts, it is determined that the course of conduct engaged in by the officers that resulted in the death of Samuel Vincent Richmond was legally justified, reasonable and necessary to protect the health and safety of the citizens of Illinois and themselves from death or great bodily harm," Hoos said.

Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria said he appreciates the thorough investigation by the Illinois State Police and Peoria County State's Attorney's Office.

"The officers will return to full duty. The next step will be an internal review of the event by our Office of Professional Standards," he said.

The state's attorney says a more detailed report will be available next week on her website.

This story will be updated.

Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.