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A full timeline of the fatal police shooting that killed Ricardo Muñoz

From the The coverage so far: Police shot, killed man in Lancaster city; the impacts, ruling and consequences series
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A police officer secure the crime scene tape after the investigators arrive to the scene of police shooting on Laurel Street and Fremont Street in Lancaster Sunday, September 13, 2020.

A police officer fatally shot and killed a man on the 300 block of Laurel Street in Lancaster city, sparking protests, riots and talks of mental health funding.

Ricardo Muñoz, 27, was killed after the officer was dispatched to the scene following a call for a domestic disturbance; when the officer arrived, Muñoz ran after them carrying what looked to be a knife. 

The Lancaster County District Attorney's office investigated to see if the shooting death could be ruled justified.

Here's a timeline of events for the fatal shooting.


Sunday, Sept. 13

4:30 p.m.:

An officer was dispatched to the 300 block of Laurel Street in Lancaster city for a domestic disturbance. Moments later, the officer shot and killed a man who was "reportedly armed with a knife at the time of the shooting." The footage was caught on body camera and turned over to the district attorney's office, said former police chief Jarrad Berkihiser. The officer was placed on administrative leave. The unidentified man's body remained on scene.

7:48 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.:

Crowds of protesters overtook Union and Laurel Streets, and two state police SUVs had their windows smashed. Protesters then walked to the Lancaster city police station on West Chestnut Street to continue the protest.

8:35 p.m.: 

Muñoz's body was placed into the coroner's van and taken away. He remained on the sidewalk for four hours before being removed.

10:02 p.m.: 

The victim was officially identified as 27-year-old Ricardo Muñoz, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney's office.

11:08 p.m.: 

Lancaster police released the body camera footage; the footage shows Muñoz running after the officer, brandishing what appeared to be a knife. Protests, some of which turning violent, remained into the overnight hours.


Monday, Sept. 14

City reacts:

Mayor Danene Sorace said "the need is clear" for a human-centered solution for mental health services at a press conference Monday afternoon.

"I cannot help but wonder if Mr. Muñoz got all the care he needed years ago, could we possibly be in a different place," city council president Ismail Smith-Wade-El said.

The mayor also condemned violent protests, commenting on the damage caused by protests earlier that morning. Thirteen protesters were arrested.

Family reacts:

"He was sick. It's not a crime to be sick," said the Munoz’s sister, Rulennis Muñoz, 33.

The family had called police and a crisis agency in an effort to get Muñoz involuntarily committed, his parents and sister said in interviews Monday at their modest and well-kept row house on Laurel Street in the city's southwest. The family said Muñoz had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Family members made calls on Sunday to "bring my son to the hospital, not to kill him," said his mother, Miguelina Pena, 62.


Tuesday, Sept. 15

An autopsy was completed; Lancaster County Coroner Dr. Stephen Diamantoni said the autopsy showed that Muñoz died of gunshot wounds and that the death is a homicide.


Thursday, Sept. 17

Several dozen people paid their respects Thursday evening to Muñoz. TV monitors showed photographs of Muñoz, who was 27 when he died, beginning as a baby through growing up. His body lay in a copper casket, his hand holding a white rose. A spray of blue and white flowers, including carnations and roses, laid atop the casket.


Friday, Oct. 9

The Lancaster County District Attorney's office announced that it has completed its investigation and that the verdict would come out soon.


Wednesday, Oct. 14

9:55 a.m.:

The attorneys for Muñoz's family announced that the police officer who shot and killed Muñoz would not be charged after speaking with the Lancaster County District Attorney's office.

The attorneys broke the news before the DA office's press conference scheduled at 11:30 a.m.

“The District Attorney’s investigation raises more questions than it answers,” said Michael Perna, another family attorney. “Ricardo was experiencing a medical crisis, and his family sought professional intervention, so why didn’t crisis Intervention do its job? Why wasn’t non-lethal force tried first?”

11:30 a.m.:

Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams announced that the police officer was justified in his fatal use of force against Muñoz.

"Based on my review of the facts and the applicable law, there is no question, no question, that the officer was justified in the use of deadly force on Ricardo Muñoz on Sept. 13," Adams said.

"Whether it was a police officer or a citizen, they would have been justified using deadly force that day," Adams continued.

12:30 p.m.:

"We called for help, we didn't call for bullets," said Rulennis Muñoz, Ricardo's sister. 

After the press conference, Rulennis and Miguelina Pena, Ricardo's mother, spoke to press about what the district attorney's ruling meant. Watch the live video below.

1:20 p.m.:

The District Attorney's office released the 911 call that led to an officer being dispatched to the scene.


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