KILLEEN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - The attorney for a Texas family is calling for change and an arrest after a man was shot and killed by a Killeen police officer during a mental health check. A rally was held on January 14 in the name of Patrick Warren Sr.
Warren was shot and killed on Sunday, January 10 after the family called for help with a mental health situation and police Officer Reynaldo Contreras was sent to the home instead.
Ring doorbell footage shows Officer Contreras knocking on Warren's door, which was a surprise to his family who had requested help from a mental health professional. The family said they had called for help the day before, and a mental health professional arrived with no issue.
The victim's son, Patrick Warren Jr., said Contreras's demeanor toward his family was hostile, so they asked him to leave. But moments later, he returned and knocked on the door. When Warren Sr. answered, and stepped outside with his hands in the air, his son said he noticed a red dot shining on the door.
"The only reason we got up and walked to the door was because we saw an infrared beam from a taser on the door which concerned us. We heard a pop," he said. "We got up. We ran to the door. By the time we made it outside, my father was on the ground."
Contreras shot Warren in the chest. The husband and father of three was pronounced dead at the hospital.
During the rally Rosalyn Finley, with Brothers and Sisters Against Community Violence, said, "We are here to let you know this will not be tolerated in our community. You will not get away with killing this man on his property."
Officer Contreras, a five-year veteran at the department, was placed on administrative leave. Family attorney Lee Merritt said that's not enough. "The fact that this man has gone for this long, since Sunday, without being arrested, interrogated, arraigned, is really offensive to this family."
Merritt is also calling for Officer Contreras' photo to be released. Meanwhile, the family and the community still have questions about why the officer used lethal force on the unarmed man.
Travis Johnson, who attended the rally, said when citizens need help during a mental crisis the professionals with the proper credentials should be sent to help. "This man (Contreras) should have had a solution to the situation that he encountered."
Community members say Killeen police officers now continually drive by the families home and they want it to stop.
When asked it he'd met with Killeen Police Chief Charles F. Kimble Merritt said, "Mr. Kimble is one of the people who has failed this community. He will be the subject of a civil suit, along with his department. We are not interested in speaking with him."
Chief Kimble issued a statement that said, in part -
"As Killeen Police Chief, it is my duty to ensure a thorough investigation is conducted so that all parties, including the public, have the answers they seek. There are many more facts in this case that are not publicly available at this time. I assure you that more information will be made available as soon as appropriate."
The investigation into the shooting has been turned over to the Texas Rangers. The Killeen Police Department is conducting a separate Internal Affairs investigation.
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