Family wants answers after learning new details in fatal officer-involved shooting

Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 10:33 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25 News Now) - Court documents reveal what may have led up to the death of a Peoria man shot by police last month.

He may have been suicidal.

A warrant for the search of Samuel Richmond’s car disclosed there was a handwritten note suggesting he was thinking about the end of his life.

Richmond’s relatives say they were blindsided by the latest developments. Now, they have more questions.

“I am sick and tired. I’m tired and frustrated, and now I want answers. Someone needs to tell me something,” said Karen Smith, Richmond’s sister.

“Terrible, lost, more confused than in the beginning,” she said.

She also says her brother was never suicidal.

Richmond, 60, was killed Oct. 3 at Martin Luther King Jr. Park on Peoria’s south side. Police say Richmond had a gun on him before four officers shot him.

A search warrant for Richmond’s car refers to two phone calls made that evening to police about Richmond, where he was, a description of his car and what he was wearing. His friend making the calls told police Richmond was recently diagnosed with cancer, had a gun and was making suicidal comments.

Police responded to a ShotSpotter alert in the area where Richmond was.

These new details have brought more confusion for his sister.

“If they’re saying he’s suicidal, then why didn’t the police come in with their emergency response team?” asked Smith.

The search warrant also says a friend provided a hand-written note, signed by Richmond. In it, he describes fighting the good fight and “I go now to my rest at peace.”

His sister says she is just now hearing about this.

“If you’re going to come out with the information, then let’s come all the way out with the information. Don’t give me bits and pieces. I cannot breathe. I feel like sometimes. I cannot sleep,” Smith said.

Richmond’s family says they need to understand why this happened.

“What we really want is answers and someone to be held accountable and be responsible for the end,” said Pastor Marvin Hightower, President of Peoria’s NAACP and cousin of Richmond.

Illinois State Police say the case is still under investigation.

Records indicate police found a black Glock 22, 40-caliber pistol near Richmond with spent shell casings and another casing seen in his car.