A look at the case of Texas man killed by deputies
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The fatal shooting of a San Antonio-area man by sheriff’s deputies is drawing scrutiny because the man had both hands in the air at the time he was shot. Officials say a video appears to show 41-year-old Gilbert Flores was armed with a knife during the confrontation Friday outside a home northwest of San Antonio, and are examining the images as part of their investigation.
A breakdown of the case so far:
Two videos show the confrontation between Flores and the deputies. The first to emerge was recorded by a motorist from some distance. That video, posted online by a San Antonio television station, shows Flores outside a residence facing two deputies when he raises both of his hands — though one arm is obscured by a utility pole. Shortly after, two deputies fire at him and Flores falls to the ground. Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau says a second video shows that both of his arms were raised when he was killed. She says that video, which hasn’t been publicly released, appears to show Flores carrying what investigators believe was a knife. The deputies didn’t have body cameras.
EFFORTS TO SUBDUE MAN
Sheriff’s officials have said that nonlethal efforts to subdue Flores, including a Taser, were unsuccessful. Pamerleau said a deputy fired a Taser, but it didn’t connect with Flores.
Attorney Thomas J. Henry, who represents the Flores family, says the initial video appears to show that deadly force was unnecessary but he is seeking more evidence. He said the family is considering filing a lawsuit to compel authorities to turn over more evidence.
DID FLORES POSE A THREAT?
Jon Shane, a former New Jersey police captain and an associate professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, cautioned that videos of deadly police encounters “almost never tell the complete story.” He said it’s often not immediately apparent what a suspect says to officers, whether the suspect may hold more than one weapon or whether the person is near someone who could become a hostage.
WHY DID DEPUTIES COME TO THE HOME?
Authorities have said deputies came to the home in response to a domestic disturbance call and found a woman with a cut and an infant who may have been injured. Henry said they were Flores’ wife and child.
WHERE DOES THE INVESTIGATION STAND?
Pamerleau says the findings of the investigation will be turned over to the Bexar County district attorney’s office for a determination on whether charges will be filed. The FBI is monitoring the investigation.
WHAT IS FLORES’ BACKGROUND?
Flores has a criminal record that includes spending 10 years of his life behind bars for attempted assault of a police officer and robbing a man with a pair of pruning shears, the San Antonio Express-News reports. Records show he was released in 2013. A state prison spokesman says Flores’ parole would have ended in 2018.
WHAT CAN BE HEARD ON DISPATCH AUDIO
Citing audio posted on Broadcastify, a web site that publishes radio traffic from police, fire and EMS agencies, the San Antonio Express-News reported that a dispatcher said on radio traffic that Flores had threatened “suicide by cop.” But Pamerleau said Wednesday said the audio has not yet been verified. The newspaper said that when the EMS unit asks if an injured woman and baby were still with the suspect, the dispatcher replies: “That’s affirmative, and he’s threatening suicide by cop.” At one point a paramedic says the “subject is attacking” the deputies.