A video has surfaced that contradicts the story offered by two Texas police officers in the killing of a man during a domestic violence response Friday, a San Antonio news station announced later in the day. And not only does the video show the shooting, it also appears that man being shot by sheriff’s deputies was unarmed and had his hands in the air.
KSAT in San Antonio reported August 28 that the station received exclusive footage of a video shot with a cell phone that captured a police-involved shooting that occurred early Friday in San Antonio. In the video, which was shot from a vehicle, a man is seen raising his hands in apparent surrender as two Bexar County sheriff’s deputies, their guns drawn and pointed at the man, stand several feet away, having followed the man to the edge of a driveway. And then, reportedly (because KSAT froze the video — but the audio continues — when the suspect raised his hands in the air) two shots were fired and the man fell to the ground.
“He kind of just put his hands in the air,” Michael Thomas, a student at the University of the Incarnate Word, said of the incident. He began filming the confrontation when he saw the officers tailing the lone man. “After he put his hands in the air, they shot him,” he said. After he caught the incident on video, Thomas called KSAT.
According to the Bexar County sheriff’s office, sheriff’s deputies responded to a domestic violence call at 11:30 a.m. (CST) Friday morning. “They found a woman holding a baby who was apparently cut and bleeding from her head,” said Deputy chief George Saidler (per KABB in San Antonio). The baby appeared to have been assaulted as well, according to KENS in San Antonio.
The officers confronted the man, who may have been the woman’s husband or boyfriend. They were under the impression that he had injured the woman. “During that time they tried to use several less than lethal options to apprehend this individual,” Saidler said. But when the suspect refused to compliance orders, the officers, who believe the man was armed with a knife, resorted to the use of their firearms. Two shots were reportedly fired, at least one shot striking the man.
The suspect, who has yet to be identified by the Sheriff’s Office, was seriously injured and was airlifted to a nearby hospital. He reportedly died of the gunshot wound a little while later. The woman was treated for her head wound as well. The baby was found to be uninjured, according to Deputy chief Saidler.
The video shot by Michael Thomas and obtained by KSAT, however, shows a different story. Several witnesses also tell a different tale. There is no indication that the man is armed at all.
There is also no visual evidence that supports the Sheriff’s Office’s story that the officers attempted to use non-lethal force, although Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau said, according to The Free Thought Project, that a taser and a shield were used. But a witness who called himself “Leo” told Telemundo that the suspect wasn’t given a chance at all. “They could’ve at least tased him,” he said.
When asked about the contents of the video, Sheriff Pamerleau told reporters it was a “cause for concern.”
The two sheriff’s deputies have not been identified. Both have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of the investigation into the shooting, which is standard procedure, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Both have been Bexar County sheriff’s deputies for more than ten years.