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Intersection of B Street and Nevin Avenue, Richmond, CA

Police confirm three officers fired weapons in Feb. 11 shooting

on February 22, 2013

The Richmond Police Department confirmed Thursday that three of its officers fired at an armed suspect in the officer-involved shooting on February 11, the city’s first such shooting since December 2011. Police Capt. Mark Gagan said the man, identified as Elston Young, 30, was “brandishing a firearm” and pointed it at the officers, but did not fire. Young was hit multiple times.  He remains hospitalized in stable condition, said Richmond Det. Nicole Abetkov.

The department is not releasing the names of the officers involved. “There’s been instances in the past where officers’ names have been released and they’ve received death threats,” said Abetkov.

Officers responded to a 911 call around 5 p.m. last Monday evening reporting a man with a gun threatening people near B Street and Nevin Avenue, said Gagan. While police were en route, the ShotSpotter gunshot detection system recorded several gunshots. Witnesses also reported that the man fired his gun before officers arrived, Gagan said. The police don’t yet know whether he was shooting in the air or at someone.

“We haven’t had anybody come forward to say that they were a victim of him shooting at them,” Abetkov said. “We’re still asking for anyone who knows anything or saw anything to come forward.”

Three officers responded to the scene, one patrol officer and two with the city’s gang unit, Abetkov said. All three officers fired their weapons, Gagan said.

Young lives in San Francisco, and police believe he may have been in Richmond to contact someone at the St. Johns Apartments. He was on the sidewalk in front of the apartments when met by the officers.

Young remains in the hospital in stable condition, guarded by Richmond police officers, Abetkov said. He has not yet been charged because of his medical state, but police said they expect that he will be charged with several crimes. Threatening officers with a gun could constitute assault with a deadly weapon even though he did not fire, Abetkov said.

The three officers have been placed on paid administrative leave. The department has a policy of a minimum three days’ paid leave whenever officers are involved in an incident with potentially lethal use of force, Gagan said, “to deal with the emotional impact and stress that causes.”

The officers will have to be cleared for duty by a department-appointed psychologist before returning to work. Average leave after such an incident is one to two weeks, Abetkov said.

The Contra Costa District Attorney’s office has opened a parallel investigation into the incident, following the protocol established between the office and the Richmond Police Department for officer-involved shootings.

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