Off-Duty Officer Fatally Shot Man in Vallejo Parking Lot Dispute, Appeared to Photograph Body

Vallejo police investigating fatal shooting.

On November 10, Virgil Thomas, an off-duty Richmond police officer, shot Eric Reason in a strip-mall parking lot after the two had a dispute.

What We Know:

  • NBC News reported that a witness had taken a photo that appears to show the shooter hovering over Reason’s body to take a photo of his victim as a member of the Vallejo Police Department stood by. The witness has remained anonymous and the authenticity of the photo has not been verified.
  • Richmond police Det. Ben Therriault issued a statement about the incident that suggested Reason was the aggressor. He stated, “Unfortunately when a police officer is confronted with a felon armed with a firearm, deadly force may be necessary. We ask that you reserve judgment until the investigation is finished.”
  • According to his attorney, Michael Rains, Thomas was questioned after the shooting but was not arrested or charged. Rains stated that Thomas was trying to pull into a parking space as Reason was trying to pull out of another space in the lot. Thomas stated that he honked the horn to alert Reason so he did not collide with his vehicle. He said that Reason got upset and confronted him with a gun from his vehicle. According to his attorney, Thomas was questioned after the shooting but was not arrested or charged. He has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.
  • Melissa Nold, a civil rights attorney representing Reason’s family, released a statement expressing concern over the investigation into the incident. She stated, “VPD did not handcuff Sgt. Thomas or treat him like a murder suspect whatsoever. He was processed as if this was an on-duty officer-involved shooting, which is outrageous.”
  • It has not been confirmed if a gun belonging to Reasons was recovered from the scene. The Vallejo Police Department is still investigating the incident.

We will continue to follow this story and provide updates.

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Digital News Intern, UnmutedCo. Black News Alerts University of North Carolina at Charlotte B.A. Communication Studies/Journalism 2021

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