Family of man shot by police searches for answers

Posted at 6:02 PM, Jan 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-13 20:50:45-05

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WTVR) -- Chesterfield County Police have identified the man who investigators said was shot by a police officer during an altercation Sunday morning as 45- year-old Frankie Pitt of Richmond.

Pitt’s family is asking for more details about what led to his death.

An officer pulled up to what he thought was a disabled vehicle driven by Pitt just before 3 a.m. on Sunday, according to police. 

Investigators said the officer saw a cash drawer that was reported stolen only ten minutes before that and identified Pitt as a suspect.

“A scuffle ensued while the officer was trying to take him into custody, and the suspect was shot and killed at that time,” Cpt. Chris Hensley with the Chesterfield County Police Department said.

That's when police said Pitt reached for the officer's gun during the altercation.

“The circumstances change rapidly, and they literally can go from 0 to 100 miles an hour in a fraction of a second,” Steve Neal, a retired police Captain, said.

Neal said the investigation into the shooting will now have two phases: a criminal investigation regarding Pitt's death and an internal examination to see if the officer followed protocol.

Additionally, Neal said that if Pitt did reach for the officer's gun like police said, the officer's life was in imminent danger.

“You're going to have to use whatever tactics or force is necessary to save your own life,” Neal said.

Azzie Robinson, Frankie Pitt’s fiancé, is trying to come to grips with the news.

“This is not Frankie," said Robinson. "To me they are trying to make him out to be a criminal, which he is not.” 

Robinson said Pitt, who worked as a truck driver, had enough money for a comfortable life. For that reason, she said the situation does not add up.

“And I'm here, and I'm going to fight for him tooth and nail because I know what kind of person he is,” said Robinson.