Phoenix police officer charged with murder in fatal shooting

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by Jennifer Thomas

azfamily.com

Posted on October 14, 2010 at 10:30 AM

Updated Thursday, Oct 14 at 6:13 PM

PHOENIX -- A Phoenix police officer who shot and killed a man last week has been indicted on a second-degree murder charge.

On Oct. 5, officers were called to a South Phoenix home by Elvira Fernandez after a fight with her son, Danny Rodriguez, 29.

The officers reportedly went inside the mobile home and Rodriguez began yelling that they needed a warrant.

Officer Richard Chrisman allegedly pulled his pistol, put it against Rodriguez's head and said he didn't need a warrant. Chrisman also shot the family's dog in the living room.

The officers were unable to detain Rodriguez and reportedly tased him.

When Rodriguez tried to leave on his bicycle, there was a struggle and Chrisman shot and killed Rodriguez.

Officer Sergio Virgillo, who was with Chrisman, said Rodriguez was not armed and was not posing a threat when he was shot.

Chrisman's attorney said his client was justified in using deadly force. He sent a letter to the County Attorney's Office Wednesday night, saying a nationally renowned expert in officer use of force interviewed Chrisman and concluded it was "absolutely necessary" to shoot Rodriguez.

Chrisman was already on the Brady List, which means his integrity has at one time been questioned.

According to police records, Chrisman and another officer were accused of planting a crack pipe on a woman during an arrest in 2005. The incident was caught on a video surveillance camera. It was determined that the officers did this as a joke in an apparent attempt to provoke a reaction from her.

According to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, Chrisman also faces one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of cruelty to animals.

An arraignment hearing is scheduled for Oct. 21.

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