UPDATE: Deadly police standoff shooting justified

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The assistant Commonwealth's Attorney announced the results of his investigation this morning into last month's deadly police-involved shooting in Richmond.

Prosecutors say Richmond police acted appropriately when two officers opened fire on 22-year-old Jaytunan Fleming.

On July 14, Fleming was shot and killed by two City officers after a nearly four and half hour standoff in a home in South Richmond.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Tracy Thorne-Begland said the shooting was deemed justified.

"They were confronted with an individual who was believed to be armed. Who they knew had made multiple threats to go out in a 'blaze of glory,'" said Thorne-Begland.

He and several others spent three weeks investigating the incident and consulting with other hostage negotiation teams around the state, as well with the Chesterfield County Commonwealth's Attorney's office.

Thorne-Begland said prior to the incident, Fleming was wanted by police in connection with several home-invasion drug robberies and was a suspect in several murders. Thorne-Begland said Fleming also made statements to several associates that "his life was over," "police were on to him" and that he was "going out in a blaze of glory."

On the morning of July 14, Fleming became the prime suspect in a home invasion drug robbery/murder on Wood Street in the city. Prosecutors said several people at the scene told police Fleming was at the robbery.

Fleming was located at a family home off Beafont Hill Drive in South Richmond around 3 p.m. that afternoon.

Thorne-Begland says police entered the home and found Fleming barricaded in the upstairs master bathroom. Fleming then told officers, "I'm not coming out. You and I are going to have to shoot this out." Police were in the house talking to Fleming through a door.

"The negotiators repeatedly advised Mr. Fleming of the steps that he would need to take in order to peacefully surrender himself," he said.

But negotiations stalled and at 7:20, RPD threw a tear gas canister into the bathroom window. Prosecutors say Fleming charged.

"He came out of the room with both of his arms extended towards the officers. With an object protruding from a T-shirt. It was wrapped around his hands," Thorne-Begland said.

One officer fired once, a second officer fired eight times. Fleming was hit six times in the torso and arms. He died at the hospital. The object covered by the t-shirt was a woman's high heel, held by Fleming to look like a gun.

"This is the bathroom where he was in and this is where the shots were fired into my floor," said Fleming's father.

Fleming's father did not wish to be identified on camera, but says he'll never believe police were justified. He's convinced his son was on the ground when the officers fired.

"Lifted the carpet up and you can see, each circle is showing the bullet holes," he said.

Prosecutors say the officers involved will not be charged. The officers were on administrative leave, but will be allowed to return to work this week.

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