4 Houston police officers fired 21 times after shooting man on the ground during an alleged mental health crisis


Four Houston police officers were fired on Thursday after a month-long investigation into a fatal shooting that they were “objectively unreasonable” in discharging 21 rounds at a man in distress.

On April 21 at around 9 pm, several officers responded to a 911 call about a man who was walking through highway traffic.

Police said Officer Nicholas Chavez arrived at a 27-year-old parking lot, where he was running away with a metal object. During a 15-minute conversation, officers shot Chavez with Sean Gun and a bean bag while “attempting to stop him from harming himself,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo released on Thursday in a body- Said in a video compilation of camera footage.

During the incident, five officers fired 24 rounds at Chavez, Acevedo said in an emotional press briefing on Thursday. Three of those shots were found to be “offensively justified”, while the final barrage of 21 shots by four officials was not, he said, because Chavez was “at the greatest level of his incompetence.”

Acevedo elaborated that before the 21-shot question, police officers had shot Chavez more than once, discharged five cartridges of stun guns and deployed six bean bags.

“I believe that anyone who watches this tape, and sees it, will see that they have a lot of opportunities and a lot of other options readily available to them which, as long as I’m the police chief of this city, Till then I will. Expect to take my officers, ”Acevedo said.

The four officers who were shot were Sergeants. Benjamin Leblanc, who discharged two of the 21 shots; Omar Tapia, who discharged six; Patrick Rubio, who discharged six, and Luis Alvarado, who discharged seven.

LeBlanc, a 12-year veteran of HPD, also hit the first two shots, and fifth official Kevin Nguyen fired one for 24 goals. All five officers were placed on administrative leave after the shooting.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said in Thursday’s press talk that the incident “has dramatically affected many people in this city.”

“This video is hard to watch, and I’ve seen it many times,” he said. “It is difficult to see without questioning why the shooting finally took place, and the encounter may have ended differently and knowing that it should have had a different outcome.”

He said that “for almost the entire time,” he found no fault in the actions of police officers, but agreed that the final shooting was “not fair in this case.”

“Mr. Chavez described himself as a threat,” he said. “And he could also survive and get the help he desperately needed.”

Choking, Turner insisted that the decision to sack the officers “is not an indictment on HPD.”

Houston Police Officers Union President Joe Gamaldi responded that the four officers were “fired today for the proper shooting”, and called the decision “unjust and humiliating.”

“[Even] If you follow policy, training and law, retreat, you will lose your job as a Houston police officer. Twitter.

Acevedo promised in April that the department would look into the incident after releasing cellphone footage that captured a 21-shot barrage.

Acevedo said the department’s Special Investigations Unit and the Internal Affairs Division reviewed nearly 25 hours of footage from 39 videos. In a compilation of about 17 minutes of body-camera footage of several officers released on Thursday, 911 calls include reporting a man in distress walking through traffic on a highway and through the residents’ yard. Chavez was upset and “clearly suicidal,” the police chief said in the video.

While addressing Chavez in a parking lot, officers can be heard ordering him to get on the ground. He then does not follow the officers, deploying bean bags and stun guns. Chavez, according to police, appears to be walking towards one of the officers while holding a metal object. At the time, LeBlanc fired two shots, which was above Chavez. Nguyen later fires a third.

While on the ground, Chavez, who is bleeding blindly, throws the object and begins to pull a stun gun from his strings. He catches it, at which point four officers fire 21 shots. According to the chief of police, the stun gun was eventually empty, although officers said they were not aware of it.

“Acevedo said on Thursday,” Let me be clear – it is not appropriate to use deadly force when a man has already been shot multiple times, fatigued, showing that he is in fact Can’t get up “” I can’t defend it. ”

Acevedo said there were 28 officers at the scene.

Officials said Chavez was rushed to a local hospital, where he died. According to Acevedo, the medical examiner later determined that Chávez had 29 wounds from bullets, skip rounds (bullets that first hit the ground) and bullet fragments entered and exited.

According to Espedo, autopsy showed that Chavez had methamphetamine, amphetamine, and ethanol in his system.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement Thursday that his office is reviewing the incident and plans to present a case directly to a grand jury that will determine who shot Nicholas Chavez Was Houston police officers justified or did they commit a crime. ”

He said in the statement, “I met with Nicholas Chavez’s mother, father and wife to voice their concerns and personally assured them that our civil rights division prosecutors would conduct an in-depth, independent review of all evidence of his death.” ”

According to the Houston Chronicle, Chavez’s mother, Leontha Chavez, said at a press conference Thursday that she was told of the dismissal of the four officers, but called her to be indicted.

“He said,” It is very sad that it is very difficult to be happy and unhappy about something. ”

ABC News’ Gina Sunseri contributed to this report.

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