Father of 6 shot and killed by off duty Richmond police officer following confrontation

Vallejo police and the Solano County District Attorney's office are investigating a deadly officer-involved shooting that happened in the parking lot of the Valero gas station at the corner of Fairgrounds Drive and Sereno Drive on Sunday. 

Vallejo police were called to the scene of a shooting at 5:25 p.m. and found an injured man. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

"We heard five, six shots rapidly. The kids just walked into the house and we went outside and saw the gentleman lying in the street over there," said Victor Mantjes, who was across the street visiting family.

Sources told KTVU that off-duty Richmond police Sgt. Virgil Thomas, a 23-year department veteran and former president of the city's police union, was the officer involved. Family members identified the man who was shot and killed as Eric Reason, 38, a Vallejo father of six.

Two guns were recovered from the scene, and investigators believe Reason brandished a gun, prompting the off-duty sergeant to open fire, sources said.

Several placards marking bullet casings could be seen near a blue car and black minivan in the parking lot.

Police wouldn't say what led to the shooting, but several people on the scene said a confrontation may have been sparked by a parking situation.

Reason was described by relatives as a family man who grew up in Vallejo, was known for his athletic ability growing up, and was the father of six kids.
"He worked in scaffolding and he enjoyed that. He found purpose in it. When it was done he could look at it and find that he accomplished something. I think that brought him pride and he was able to, he felt good enough that he could bring his son into it," said Greg Reason, Reason's uncle.

His mother, Stephanie Bass, is heartbroken over the loss of her son.

"He didn't deserve that. He didn't deserve to die like that," Bass said. "I've never been through this. That's my 38-year-old son and I'm devastated. I just don't know what to do. I don't know what to do."

Family members and friends were even more distressed by reports that the two men had got into an argument over a parking spot. 

"Somebody cut either one of them off in this parking lot. So the dispute was over a parking situation," Bass said. 

Richmond Police Lt. Matt Stonebraker confirmed an officer was involved in the fatal shooting and is on administrative leave pending the investigation. 

There have been two police-involved killings in Vallejo in 2019 before Sunday night.