PHOENIX — A Phoenix police officer has been indicted on a second-degree murder charge in the on-duty shooting of a suspect, his lawyer said yesterday.
Officer Richard Chrisman, 36, was served a summons on the indictment, attorney Craig Mehrens said. The indictment also charged him with aggravated assault and misdemeanor cruelty to animals.
He had been previously charged with aggravated assault but remains free on bail.
Chrisman allegedly pulled his pistol, put it against 29-year-old Danny Frank Rodriguez’s head, and told him he didn’t need a warrant when Rodriguez ordered him out of his house on Oct. 5. Over the next few minutes, Chrisman shocked Rodriguez with a stun gun, shot his pit bull, then finally fatally shot Rodriguez, according to a court document.
Records show another officer told investigators he saw no reason for Chrisman to shoot. Mehrens said his client was justified in shooting Rodriguez.
Chrisman and officer Sergio Virgillo had been called to a south Phoenix mobile home by Rodriguez’s mother, according to a court document.
Elvira Fernandez told the officers that she had been arguing with her son, that he had damaged property in the trailer, and that she left because she was afraid he would assault her.
When the officers entered the home, Rodriguez asked to see a warrant, at which point Chrisman put his pistol against his head and told him he didn’t need a warrant, the document said.
A police probable cause statement showed that the two officers then had difficulty controlling Rodriguez, with both firing their stun guns on the suspect to little effect.
Virgillo told investigators that after using the stun guns, Chrisman used pepper spray on Rodriguez and shot a dog that was in the living room.