CHESTERFIELD (AP) A Richmond police officer charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of an 18-year-old at a car wash said Thursday that he acted in self-defense and broke down in tears as he recalled learning the teen had died.
Richmond Police Officer Cobb sobbed loudly as he discussed being told that Paterson Brown Jr. had died last October after being shot by the officer when he was off duty, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. Chesterfield County Circuit Judge David Johnson had to call a 10-minute recess so the officer could regain his composure and continue testifying.
Video footage shown to jurors earlier this week showed Brown getting into the officer’s car and driving it into the washing bay. Officials say Cobb told him to get out and later shot Brown a single time during an altercation. Cobb wasn’t on duty at the time.
Cobb said Thursday that Brown refused commands to stop moving and made a sudden motion across his waist that made him think Brown was reaching for a weapon. Cobb said he didn’t intend to kill Brown “but to stop the threat.”
Prosecutors have said that Brown was unarmed and that the officer had no reason to shoot the teen. They called 18 witnesses over two days and showed jurors two recorded police interviews with Cobb on the day of the shooting.
A former gas station clerk who was working next door to the car wash testified earlier this week that the teen appeared incoherent and to be on drugs. Toxicology experts said Brown’s blood contained an ingredient of marijuana. Paramedics found a bag of marijuana on Brown as well as pills used to treat anxiety.
Juan Carrillo, a friend of Brown’s who was called by the defense to testify Thursday, said he had been with Brown when he robbed another high school student at gunpoint in 2014. Carillo said he doesn’t know what happened to that gun after the robbery, but said Brown posed no threat on the day he was killed.
“He wasn’t threatening nobody,” said Carrillo, who was with the teen when the incident happened.
Jurors were expected to begin deliberating on Thursday.
Richmond Police have said that Cobb is on administrative leave without pay and that an internal investigation won’t start until the court case is complete.