A special prosecutor concluded today that Chesterfield County police were justified in fatally shooting a lawyer after he fired at officers who had been called to his home.
The lawyer, Richard C. Ferris II, confronted officers twice from the garage of the home after an overnight standoff about 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 28, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Ebert, the special prosecutor, said Ferris’ wife testified before a mutijurisidictional grand jury that she had called police to the home because she feared her husband was suicidal.
Ferris had consumed at least six beers and an excessive amount of the anti-anxiety medication alprazolam, the wife said. A toxicologist found that Ferris had three to four times the normal dose of the drug, better known by the brand name Xanax, in his system at the time of his death.
Ferris was alone in the house for several hours after the wife left with their four children and two other children.
Police never received any response from Ferris after trying to get him to answer cell phone calls and messages delivered over a bullhorn.
They finally fired tear gas into each level of the three-story home, and Ferris appeared with a 9 mm pistol at a doorway of the house leading to an attached garage. He fired several shots from the weapon at police before retreating into the house and reappearing 12 minutes later brandishing a .45-caliber pistol.
Police opened fire when he refused to drop the weapon. He died from gunshot wounds to the chest.