Richmond cops cleared in fatal shooting last summer

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Richmond police surround the home where a Richmond Police officer shot and fatally wounded a person during the service of a search warrant, according to authorities on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 in Richmond, Calif. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

RICHMOND — A pair of Richmond police officers will not face criminal charges in the fatal shooting of an armed man inside his bedroom last summer, according to authorities.

Detective Robert Branch and Sgt. Alex Caine acted in lawful self-defense and the defense of others when they shot and killed 66-year-old Kevin McDonald on June 28, 2023, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office said in a report issued Friday.

“Both officers reasonably believed they were in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death; both officers reasonably believed the immediate use of force was necessary to defend against that danger; and both officers used no more force than was reasonably necessary under the circumstances,” prosecutors said in the report.

The officers encountered McDonald while serving a search warrant at a home he shared with his mother and one other person, who was under investigation for a firearm offense, in the 1200 block of Sanderling Island, in the Point Richmond neighborhood, according to prosecutors.

The officers, who were part of a tactical response team, announced their presence before they opened the closed door to McDonald’s bedroom on the second floor, prosecutors said. McDonald, meanwhile, yelled at the officers not to come into his room.

As they entered the room, Branch and Caine saw McDonald holding and pointing an AR-15-style rifle in their direction, according to prosecutors. The officers opened fire with their Colt AR-15 rifles, hitting McDonald three times in the head.

Prosecutors said McDonald received first aid, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officer body-worn cameras partially captured the deadly encounter. Footage from Branch’s camera showed him opening the door to McDonald’s room and yelling “Richmond Police Department, show me your hands” two times, according to prosecutors. The camera also recorded officers shouting “gun” and Branch firing his rifle six to eight times at McDonald.

Caine was not wearing his camera during the confrontation, prosecutors said. He forgot to transfer it when he changed into a tactical vest prior to serving the warrant.

McDonald’s rifle was modified and did not have a serial number, according to prosecutors. One round was loaded in the chamber and another 29 were loaded in the magazine.

A total of 47 firearms, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and a grenade launcher attachment were found in McDonald’s room, prosecutors said. Elsewhere in the residence, officers seized a hand grenade, gun parts and equipment to manufacture firearms.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.