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Authorities release footage from fatal LAPD shooting of R.I. man

The videos largely mirror the original police account of the April 24 incident in which Richard B. Solitro Jr., 34, was killed

PROVIDENCE — Los Angeles authorities on Tuesday released dashboard and body camera footage from the fatal shooting by police of a North Providence man.

The videos largely mirror the original police account of the April 24 incident: Richard B. Solitro Jr., 34, reversed his car into a Los Angeles Police Department cruiser, then got out with a hand behind his back, demanding that police get out. As he counted to three, police shouted, “Put it down!” The police shot him just as he brought his hand out from behind his back and pointed something — a piece of paper, it turned out — toward an officer. Captain Stacy Spell of the LAPD described his arm movement as a “shooting-type movement.”

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Solitro, whose family said he suffered from mental health issues, did not have a weapon. He died at the scene on Sunset Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue in Hollywood. He was wearing body armor at the time, according to the video.

The LAPD also on Tuesday released an image of what they said Solitro was holding: A piece of paper with writings referencing the end of the world and being shot.

Warning: This video depicts graphic violence.

The footage included a dash camera from the cruiser, which was headed to an unrelated call with its sirens on, and an officer’s body camera.

In December 2018, Solitro was shot and injured by North Providence police outside his home. The officer was there to check on his well-being. Solitro yelled at the officer, then brandished a realistic-looking replica firearm, according to court records. The officer tried to get him to drop it, but Solitro pointed it at him, according to police accounts of the incident. The officer shot twice, hitting Solitro in the abdomen area, authorities said at the time.

The LAPD said they’re still in the “very early stages” of the investigation into the incident, which could take up to a year before they determine if the officers followed departmental standards, Spell said.

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Solitro’s lawyer, Nicholas Hemond, said in April that Solitro was a victim of the system that cannot care for people with mental health issues.

“He wasn’t a criminal, he was a troubled man who needed help,” Hemond said at the time.


Brian Amaral can be reached at brian.amaral@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @bamaral44.