DA: Lancaster police officer justified in shooting

A Lancaster police officer was justified in using deadly force when he shot and injured an 18-year-old man earlier this month, according to the district attorney.

Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said the officer reasonably believed force was necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to himself or someone else.

The suspect, Richard Rivera Jr., was shot during a July 11 incident in the area of Union and Prospect Streets.

Police were attempting to stop a suspicious vehicle in Brandon Park, but the driver fled and Rivera, his passenger, eventually took off on foot.

As police chased him, Rivera pulled a loaded .357 revolver from his waistband, refused repeated orders to drop it, and raised the gun to a position that would allow him to fire on the officers, Stedman said.

One of the officers fired twice and hit Rivera once in the buttocks.

Rivera was treated at a hospital and sent to the county prison after he was cleared by medical staff. Authorities said the gun had been reported stolen during a burglary and Rivera was in possession of crack cocaine.

Stedman said the officers showed great restraint in their encounter with Rivera, who had numerous chances to deescalate the situation.

He said Rivera instead chose to engage the officers in a combat situation and gave them no choice but to use deadly force.

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