Knife-wielding incident leaves widow puzzled — (The Riverside Press-Enterprise)

SSRI Ed note: Man on mild dose of antidepressant falls into dreamlike state, approaches police officer chanting "kill, kill", is shot and killed.

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The Riverside Press-Enterprise, CA

January 30, 1994

Author: Pam Carnline, The Press-Enterprise

HEMET – Annette Pugh remembers her husband, Richard, as he is seen in family photographs – a smiling, cherry-cheeked man with a twinkle in his eye. She cannot envision him as the knife-wielding man shot to death Friday during a confrontation with a Hemet police officer.

The officer responded to a report of a man with a knife wandering around a Page Ranch neighborhood about 11 a.m. When he approached the man, Pugh walked toward the officer and chanted “kill, kill, kill,” police said.

“He would never have done that purposefully,” Annette Pugh said yesterday, surrounded by family and friends in her front yard on Rexford Drive.

Richard Pugh, 39, recently was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder, or manic depression.

“He was in the hospital the week before. He called and said the doctor had put him on antidepressants,” she said. Annette Pugh said she and her husband were concerned about the drugs, but figured a mild dose would be OK.

“Obviously, we were wrong,” she said.

When Annette Pugh left the house Friday morning to pick up a new prescription for her husband, he was sleeping, she said. When she returned more than an hour later, he was gone. She noticed commotion down the block and assumed he had walked down there to see what was going on.

“So I sent my oldest son down,” she said. “He did not see (Pugh) shot or anything, but he did see his tennis shoes.”

The couple, who celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary Tuesday, bought the southwest Hemet home in December. They moved from Temecula.

George Alexander, who lives across the street, saw Pugh walking in the neighborhood about 30 minutes before the shooting.

“He was out walking by himself. He was kind of in a daze. He did not acknowledge us,” Alexander said.

“Thursday, he was out passing the football with his two boys,” he said.

George Butorac, who lives next door, said Pugh had come over to talk about sprinklers just two days ago.

Yesterday at his sister-in-law’s house, Jim Pugh said: “My brother, as a man, was a very loving man.”

He added, “He has never been arrested in his life. He does not have a criminal record. He has always had a job. He has always provided for his family.”

Jim Pugh said he believed his brother had a reaction to the medication and woke up in the house by himself.

“This is not the sort of thing that is typical of a man with a wife and two boys,” he said.

An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow. The officer involved in the shooting has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of a department investigation and a joint investigation by the police and the Riverside County district attorney’s office.

Record Number: 46255

Copyright (c) 1994, 2000 The Press-Enterprise Co.