Review: Chesterfield police shooting of Ferris 'justified'

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - After a review from a special prosecutor, Chesterfield Police were found to be justified in shooting 44-year-old Richard Ferris in the early morning of January 28 in southern Chesterfield County.

After reviewing Chesterfield police reports, Ferris family testimony and toxicology reports for Richard Ferris, Paul Ebert, the Commonwealth's Attorney for Price William County, ruled that police were justified in shooting Richard Ferris.

Prosecutor Paul Ebert said 44-year-old Richard Ferris had alcohol and high levels of a prescribed sedative in his body when he was shot and killed by police.

"And according to toxicologists, that was about 3-4 times what you would might expect to find in someone that was taking that drug as a prescription," explained Ebert during an interview in Manassas.

Ebert said the deadly standoff started with a 911 call made by wife Michelle Ferris. She said her husband was suicidal and locked in a room.

Police told Ebert that Ferris fired a gun near his child's bedroom during the first hours of the overnight standoff that ended the morning of January 28th.

At any point did it sound like wife, Michelle Ferris, was concerned for her safety or her children's? "She thought that if everybody left that he might settle down," said Ebert.

But the standoff only escalated. At one point dozens of officers, some in camouflage, surrounded the high-end home on Timber Point Drive. Ebert said tear-gas was thrown into every level of the house and that Ferris refused to negotiate with police.

We know that he was a licensed gun dealer and he had a large amount of guns in his home.  "He did," said Ebert. "He had approximately 180 guns, many different types and calibers."

Ebert said two handguns were used during a shoot-out with police. It started around 7:30 a.m. when officers indicated Ferris shot at them from inside his garage.

"He returned approximately 12 minutes later with another handgun," said Ebert.

The gun fight continued. Ebert said two officers each fired a round that hit and eventually killed 44-year-old father. Ebert said were police in danger.

"The way it came down, police had really no alternative in my judgement to do what they did," Ebert said.

Richard Ferris leaves behind his wife and four children.

Ferris was shot and killed outside his $600,000 home in Woodland Pond. The medical examiner said in early February that the father of four died from multiple gunshot wounds to the chest.

Richard Ferris, who went by Rick, was a prominent lawyer in Chesterfield and had close ties to the Commonwealth attorney's office.

Court documents show that investigators seized 11 guns, journals, and a battle ready book with handwritten notes from the home.

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