EDENWALD, Bronx - The father of a man killed in a police-involved shooting in the Bronx Wednesday is speaking out, calling his son's death a murder.
The incident happened around 4 p.m. on Pratt Avenue in the Edenwald section. A tearful Belvett Richards, who identified his son as 31-year-old Miguel Richards, spoke via phone from Canada.
"He was murdered, cold bloodedly," he said. "He didn't deserve to die this way."
Neighbors say Richards lived on the third floor of the building for several months and was no criminal, but a humble man.
Police were called to the scene after the Richards' landlord requested a wellness check, because he hadn't seen or heard from his tenant in a while and was worried.
When they arrived, officers say they found the man holding a knife and with his other hand behind his back. When he brought his other hand forward, police say the man was holding a gun.
"The officers noticed what appeared to be a gun in his right hand," Chief of Patrol Carlos Gomez said. "The officers asked the male if the gun was real and ordered him to drop it, explaining, 'We don't wanna hurt you.' As the subject raised the gun in the direction of the officers, one officer fired his Taser as the two other officers fired their service weapons, striking the subject several times."
Police say it turned out to be a toy gun, but the knife was real.
Richards' landlord said the situation deteriorated because no matter how patient the police officers were, Richards simply stood there, wearing dark glasses, in absolute silence.
"The two guys that came were very good," landlord Glenmore Carey said. "They even put away the gun and were just talking to him, and saying, 'Put away the knife, we're not here to hurt you. We're here to help you.' He's not saying anything."
Dorothy Wallace watched the commotion from across the street.
"I said, something is wrong, and then I saw two or three policemen," she said. "Push the door and went in, and a couple of minutes, I hear pow, pow, pow, three times."
The whole exchange was caught on police body cameras, which are being evaluated as part of the investigation.
"You could hear the officer pleading with him, 'Drop the knife, drop the knife. What's in your other hand. We don't want to hurt you,'" Gomez said. "It went on for several minutes."
Belvett Richards said his son came from Jamaica and was an IT expert.
"He's a good person," he said. "That's all I could say."
The investigation is ongoing.