Richmond, Virginia, police shot and killed an unarmed 24-year-old Black man on Monday evening after he hit three vehicles with his car and reportedly charged an officer.
According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Richmond Police Department identified the man as Marcus-David L. Peters, a high school science teacher and a Virginia Commonwealth University alumnus who graduated with honors.
Police say that shortly after 5:30p.m., an officer saw Peters strike another vehicle with his sedan at an intersection, then continued driving up a highway on-ramp. He then hit two other cars on the ramp, lost control of his car, and emerged naked from it. Peters was seen dancing and “rolling around” on the interstate before going back to the on-ramp.
Peters then reportedly charged at the Richmond officer who had followed Peters but was not disabled by a Taser that the officer deployed. The officer then shot Peters, who was unarmed at the time of the shooting. He was transported to a hospital where he died after midnight.
“That was not my son,” Barbara Peters, the man’s mother, told the publication. “This is just so out of character. Something went terribly wrong.”
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The identity of the officer who killed Peters has remained anonymous, though he reportedly had worked for the department for 10 years. He was placed on administrative leave during the department’s investigation into the shooting, and his name will be released when once a risk assessment is completed. Police are interviewing the officer and other eyewitnesses and will review body camera video and other photos or videos available.
“We are all deeply affected by what happened here—by the loss of life. Our officers do not take the use of deadly force lightly. I think it’s important to remember that being naked does not remove a threat,” Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham said in a statement. “So far, the eyewitness accounts we’ve heard have been consistent: our officer tried using verbal commands, then used non-lethal force first by deploying his Taser before using his service weapon.”
According to the publication, Peters grew up in Middlesex County, an hour east of Richmond, and was the third-youngest of his family’s 12 children. He graduated summa cum laude from Middlesex High School in 2011 and was selected to speak at his graduation. In college, Peters attended the school’s Honors College, worked as a resident assistant, and volunteered in doctor’s offices.
Peters was a science teacher at Essex High School and also taught a “life skills” class, his family said.
“The hopes for these additional lessons were to help students develop fundamental skills for overall success,” Peters’ family told the publication. “He would often say, ‘The students just need to know that someone cares about them and need a role model to look up to.’ He tried his very best to do just that.”
H/T the Root