Warning: This video may be disturbing to some viewers.
LOS ANGELES (WPRI) — The Los Angeles Police Department has released the body cam footage of the moments a North Providence native was killed in a confrontation with them back in April.
The video was posted on the LAPD’s YouTube page Tuesday saying the purpose is to provide information as they continue to investigate.
Officers were responding to an unrelated call on April 24 when police said a black sedan abruptly pulled in front of them and backed into their cruiser. The vehicle had words and phrases written all over it, including “King Satan 666.”
Police said the driver, later identified as Richard Solitro Jr., got out of the car, allegedly wearing body armor, and started walking towards them with his hands hidden behind his back.
They said Solitro Jr. then moved his arm to the front, mimicking a shooting movement when officers shot him.
Solitro Jr. was pronounced dead at the scene and detectives did not find a weapon on him, just a piece of paper.
“After the investigation is complete, our critical incident review division will go to the chief of police who will make his recommendation to the civilian board of police commissioners. The board will evaluate the evidence to determine whether the officer’s use of force in this incident met the high standard of all LAPD officers,” LAPD Capt. Stacy Spell said.
This is not the first time Solitro Jr. has had a run-in with police. Solitro Jr. put a North Providence officer in a similar situation three years ago. In December 2018, one of Solitro’s relatives called 911 and said he was threatening to harm himself.
When the officer arrived on scene, Solitro Jr. pulled up in a car, got out and started walking toward the officer’s cruiser. At the same time, he pointed what appeared to be a gun at the officer.
The officer asked Solitro Jr. to drop the weapon, but he ignored those commands. The officer then fired several shots at Solitro Jr., hitting him.
He survived, and the officer was cleared of wrongdoing following an investigation into the incident. Solitro Jr. was later charged with felony assault by use of a device similar in appearance to a firearm.
Days after the deadly shooting in Los Angeles, Solitro Jr.’s family spoke to 12 News saying he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was unwell.
“A person suffering from mental illness and or addiction are not criminals. They need help. They should not be ignored, marginalized, or forgotten,” his wife Alexandria D’Angelo said.
His wife and father said they tried to get him help in both California and Rhode Island, and said they’d like to see more funding for mental health services.