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Sidney T. Richardson IV, 48
Tampa, Florida
February 10, 2018

Agencies: Tampa Police Department Florida | Florida Department of Law Enforcement FDLE

Last updated: 2 months ago

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Tampa Police shot and killed Sidney Richardson who they say was threatening a relative with a machete.

Tampa Police say officers were called to the address around 7:00 p.m. Saturday.

When officers arrived, they saw 48-year-old Sidney Richardson IV, holding a machete in a room with a teenager relative. Police say they ordered the man to drop the machete several times. When Richardson refused to drop the weapon officers tased him, but he still did not drop the machete.

One of the officers shot at the suspect because police say the feared for the safety of the officers and the safety of the teen.

J.R. Walton had done two tours in the U.S. Marines with Sidney T. Richardson IV. Decades later, the two men were still friends, coping with post-traumatic stress disorder together, Walton said.

He was working his barber job when Richardson called at 6:43 p.m.

"By 8 o’clock, he was dead," Walton said.

Walton and local activists want a federal investigation into the shooting. They suspect Richardson, 48, was having some sort of mental health breakdown in the moments leading up to the shooting.

One of the officers used his Taser to try to subdue Richardson but the stun gun was not effective, police said. At that point, Hernandez opened fire, hitting Richardson at least once.

Friends described Richardson as a smart, kind, soft-spoken Christian man who sought mental health treatment for PTSD but seemed increasingly troubled in recent months.

"He was getting care and going to his appointments," a friend said. "He was on top of everything but he was still suffering from deep depression."

Richardson also thought the government "was out to get him," Walton said. He was sure he was being monitored and urged the management at his Brandon apartment complex to remove the cameras and microphones he believed had been installed there. He rarely left his apartment, Walton said.

On Friday, Richardson sent Walton a text saying he needed help. Walton said Richardson seemed okay when the two men spoke by phone Saturday morning the day he was killed.