Michael Couture, the Richmond police officer who shot and killed Santanna Bryant Olavarria during a May 29, 2004, car stop at Mechanicsville Turnpike and Fairfield Way, has resigned from the force.
Olavarria was driving a 1995 Buick when he was stopped by Couture and his rookie partner, Edward Aeschlimann, for allegedly running a stop sign. As the officers approached the vehicle, police said, Aeschlimann noticed part of a gun protruding from beneath Olavarria’s seat. During a struggle to remove Olavarria from the car, police said, Couture was dragged and pulled into the vehicle as it started to move.
Police said that Couture, fearing for his life, fired a shot from inside the car, fatally wounding Olavarria. Aeschlimann then fired four rounds into the back of the vehicle from outside, striking Olavarria three times, according to Olavarria’s autopsy report.