Texas cops tried taser on man shot with 'hands up', but probes 'did not connect' - sheriff

Screenshot from KSAT video
Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau confirmed that the two officers involved in the shooting attempted to use non-lethal force to subdue the suspect. She said the officers tried to use a Taser, but the probes “did not connect” with Gilbert Flores.

Only one of the deputies used his Taser, Pamerleau confirmed, even though every deputy on the force carries the stun gun.

Video footage of the incident shows 41-year-old Gilbert Flores  running shirtless in the front yard of a house. Moments after he appears to put his hands up, two shots can be heard. Flores doubles over and falls to the ground. He died later in the hospital. 

READ MORE: Video suggests Texas man had hands raised when officers shot him dead

A second video has emerged, Pamerleau said, showing the incident from a different angle but “not necessarily closer.” The video has been submitted to the Texas Department of Public Safety crime lab, in an effort to enlarge and slow down the relevant moment in the recording and get a better view of what happened. The video has not been released to the public.

Pamerleau said she had seen the video, and it appears to show that Flores had “something in his hand.” However, she added that the recording “causes us concern.”

“The bottom line is, he had his hands up in the air. That is clearly a non-threatening position,” retired Chief Deputy US Marshal Matthew Fogg told RT. No matter what Flores may have been saying to the officers, the video does not show him posing any threat to the officers. “I just don’t know what made him originally shoot the guy, I really can’t figure it out,” Fogg said.

According to Pamerleau, the police believe Flores was holding a knife in his hand. In the first video, the view of one of his hands is obstructed by a utility pole.

“It looks very bad on the video. It looks as though he’s standing there with his hands up, and then the officers actually shoot him,” Ronald Hampton of the National Police Accountability Project told RT. “If that’s the case, then, to me that would be murder.”

“There are steps you have to take prior to using that firearm,”and shooting suspects should always be the very last resort,former Philadelphia police captain Ray Lewis told RT. “There is no way in the world you have to shoot a man that’s unarmed, unless he has his hands wrapped around your throat and you’re breathing your last breath.”

Sheriff Pamerleau hopes the second video will give a clear idea of whether Flores was armed at the moment he was shot.

The sheriff could not confirm that the recordings of 911 calls and radio chatter, released by Broadcastify, matched the official police logs. The sound recordings suggest that Flores had spoken about wanting to commit “suicide by cop.”

“We have no drawn any conclusion at this point. It would be inappropriate to do so,” Pamerleau pointed out, adding that for the sake of everyone involved, “the important thing is to get this right.”

Addressing a question whether Flores may have had mental health issues, Pamerleau said that Bexar County deputies received training to recognize mental health problems and respond appropriately. She noted that between 22 and 25 percent of inmates in the county jail have been diagnosed with some sort of mental illness.