Richmond mother recounts police officers fatally shooting her son during traffic stop

Posted at 11:18 PM, Nov 22, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-23 07:12:30-05

RICHMOND, Va. - Tens years after a police officer shot and killed her son, the pain remains for Annette Olavarria.

"I tell him that I love him.  And I think that would be it because I would be really happy to see him,” Olavarria said.

In 2004 , a Richmond Police officer shot 21-year-old Santana Olavarria during a traffic stop. The officer said he acted in self-defense after spotting a gun in Olavarria's car.

The officer said there was a struggle to remove Olavarria from the car and he was dragged by the car and pulled into the vehicle as it started to move.

Witnesses told Olavarria's mother they saw her son raise both hands in the air.

"These people who are here to protect and serve us are serving themselves at our expense,” said Olavarria.  “There are trigger happy people in uniform who have no business being in that position.”

Police officer Michael Couture, who was tried twice and convicted of manslaughter, served no jail time, but was given a fine.

"I don't really look to the justice system for justice because I've yet to see any,” said Olavarria.

Olavarria said she was not surprised by the ongoing violence in Ferguson, Missouri.

Retired Fairfax Police Master Officer Mark Perkins said the public should not rush to judgement in the Ferguson case.

He said his experience does not match the "trigger happy" narrative.

"I've never met an officer that said I'm going to go out tonight and shoot someone," Perkins said. "I think that everyone wanted to go home that night."

Perkins said when a police officer fires a weapon, it is usually a split-second decision.

He said he looked forward to hearing all the facts in the Ferguson case once they are made public.