A sheriff’s deputy In Harris County, Texas shot and killed a Houston man who was experiencing a mental health crisis.
As NBC reported, a woman called 911 shortly after midnight on Wednesday (April 14) to seek assistance for her husband, Marcelo Garcia, who “was experiencing a mental health crisis and was behaving erratically.”
Upon the deputy’s arrival at the home, the man in crisis reportedly opened the door with a knife in hand and refused to drop it. According to authorities, he accosted the officer, which prompted his use of a Taser.
“The suspect aggressively approached our deputy,” Harris County Sheriff’s Office Assistant Chief Mike Lee said, per local news station KPRC.
“The deputy and the subject retreated a number of yards out into the street. The deputy attempted to use his Taser on the subject that was still armed with a knife. The Taser was not effective at that time.”
Lee explained that the deputy requested a mental health unit from the sheriff’s office, but they were on another call. Garcia’s continued aggression then caused him to pull out his gun, which he proceeded to use. The cop “discharged his weapon a number of times,” struck the man and called for help from paramedics, but it was too late. Despite responders’ attempt to administer first aid when they arrived, Garcia — who had schizophrenia and bipolar disorder — was pronounced dead at the scene of the fatal encounter.
The Texas deputy — who walked away from the incident unharmed — has been placed on temporary administrative leave pending an investigation by the sheriff’s office and the Harris County District attorney’s office. He had only been working with the department for seven months prior to the incident. The sheriff’s office maintains that he was “trained in how to interact with people experiencing a mental health crisis.”