Ryan Frederick said Thursday he’s not the “drug lord” some people might make him out to be, but a scared, 100-pound man who thought someone was breaking into his home.
The 28-year-old spoke from the city jail, where he is being held without bail on charges of first-degree murder and use of a firearm in the shooting of Chesapeake Detective Jarrod Shivers. The officer was shot around 8:40 p.m. Jan. 17 while executing a drug search warrant at Frederick’s home at 932 Redstart Ave. in the Portlock section.
During a jailhouse interview, Frederick said he was sleeping in a back bedroom because his job as a soft drink merchandiser required him to get up early. His dogs, Dora and Bud, were in the house. He woke up because his dogs “were barking like crazy. They’re going like really crazy, so I grab my gun. As I’m walking through the hall, someone comes busting through my door.”
He said intruders were pushing through the bottom panels of the four-panel door, he said. The lighting in the house was dim. Frederick said he didn’t hear anyone say “police” or see identification.
“I was like, ‘Oh, God, if I don’t shoot, then he’s going to kill me’ … I think I shot twice. I can’t remember. It happened so fast. All I know is the gun jammed.”
Frederick said he then went back to the bedroom to get a telephone. When he realized police were outside, he walked out of the house and surrendered.
In tears at times, Frederick said he doesn’t grow or sell marijuana. He had a smoking bong and a small bag of marijuana, he said.
Police spokeswoman Christina Golden has said police were wearing badges and helmets marked with the word “POLICE,” and they announced their presence at the door. An unspecified amount of marijuana was found at the house. Frederick has not been charged with any drug offenses.
A confidential informant told police that Frederick was growing marijuana in a garage behind the home, according to a search warrant. Police seized marijuana, lights, five tub containers, a smoking device, a fan, books and magazines and a pay stub during the search.
Frederick said if police found drugs, it was a small amount of marijuana he had for personal use.
“They made a mistake,” he said. “It’s a damn shame, too, because someone had to lose their life over it and I’m in jail about to lose my life over it.”
On Jan. 14, three days before the police shooting, Frederick said, someone kicked in a rear portion of the fence around his home and broke into his garage.
“They ransacked my place like they were looking for something. But they didn’t take anything,” he said.
His fear grew, he said, as he thought about a recent, nearby crime – Ny-Asia Tillmon, 1, who was shot and killed in November in South Norfolk.
Hours before the encounter with police, Frederick said he purchased three dead-bolt locks for his garage and home. He said he was worried he would be victimized again.
Now, he’s afraid. His mother died several years ago, and he has only an aunt and uncle in the area.
“I pray every day,” he said. “That’s all I got right now. I keep thinking that my mom’s looking down at me. I hope she knows I’m not the murderer they make me out to be.”
His aunt, Sheryl Morales of South Norfolk, said her family is doing all they can to support Frederick, while keeping the officer’s wife and family in their prayers.
“I’m just so sorry for her loss and her kids’ loss,” Morales said. “We all offer our condolences. We’ve all prayed for them.”
Shivers was an eight-year police veteran with a wife and three children. The 34-year-old served in the Navy before joining the Police Department.
“There’s nothing but sorrow I feel for that family,” Frederick said. “There are no words that I could say that will take back that night.”
Frederick retained James Broccoletti as his attorney on Thursday and will be arraigned Wednesday .
As for the lights the police found, Frederick said he was growing a banana tree as a hobby and was learning how to grow Japanese maple trees. He said he designed his backyard’s landscape and grew other plants.
Frederick said he has worked since he was 12, starting as a paperboy. As a merchandiser for a soda company, he must wake up at 4 a.m. to be at stores by 5.
“He’s not a killer,” said Frederick’s aunt, Sheryl Morales. “He knew someone was in his house and he shot.”
John Hopkins, (757) 222-5221, firstname.lastname@example.org