Man donned body armor, was killed by LAPD. It wasn’t the first time he was shot by police
A man wearing body armor who was fatally shot by police during an altercation in the Hollywood area on Saturday had previously been wounded in a shooting by law enforcement, police confirm.
In 2018 in North Providence, R.I., Richard Solitro — the man killed in Saturday’s confrontation with L.A. police — brandished a replica Beretta pistol at a police officer, who then fired his gun at him, according to court records. The officer had been responding to a report of a man in a home who might harm himself. When the officer arrived, Solitro was not in the house but inside a car. He got out of the car and brandished what the officer thought was a gun, records say.
A Providence grand jury in 2019 determined the shooting was legally justified. In September, he pleaded no contest to felony assault by use of a device similar in appearance to a firearm in that shooting, according to Rhode Island court records. LAPD Capt. Stacy Spell confirmed that the person fatally shot in Hollywood was the man previously shot by a police officer in Rhode Island.
Saturday’s deadly encounter began when LAPD officers were cut off en route to an emergency by a black sedan with the words “King Satan 666” written on it. According to the LAPD, as the officers approached the busy intersection of Sunset and Fairfax Avenue, Solitro “suddenly pulled in front of them and stopped.” The suspect “then placed his vehicle in reverse and ran into the police car,” a statement said.
The LAPD said Solitro jumped out of the car wearing clearly visible body armor and moved toward the officers. “He had his right hand concealed behind his back. He moved towards the officers and was counting three, two, one.”
Investigators said Solitro then “began to move his right arm to the front,” at which time an officer shot him, striking him multiple times. Solitro died of multiple gunshots at the scene. Investigators did not find any weapons on him. The Times has not interviewed any independent witnesses to the event.
The shooting was captured by the officers’ body cameras and in-car video and was being reviewed as part of a criminal and internal investigation of the shooting. The LAPD is required to release shooting videos within 45 days as part of its critical incident review.
Solitro’s father, Rick Solitro, told NBC 10 News in Rhode Island that his son had struggled with his mental health for years.
Solitro had been staying at a Quality Inn on La Brea Avenue as a long-term guest before the shooting, according to the LAPD. The department’s Force Investigation Division was examining how Solitro came to be in Hollywood. Rhode Island court records show that his wife filed for divorce in January and last month, after a hearing, it was granted for irreconcilable differences.
In addition to the shooting incident in Rhode Island, Solitro had been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence in connection with a 2007 incident that led to his being placed on probation.
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