Civil rights attorney, Lee Merritt, said Patrick Warren needed psychiatric help but his family was told a mental health deputy was not available.
By Jim Hice, KCENTV
Doorbell video shows the moments leading up to when a Black man was shot and killed by a Killeen police officer on Sunday.
The video shows 52-year-old Patrick Warren Sr. come out of his house and approach the officer while waving his hands.
National civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who’s working with the family, said they called police to ask for a mental health professional when they noticed changes in Warren’s behavior.
He was suffering a mental health crisis and simply needed help. Instead he was shot three times in his chest and tased.
We demand the immediate arrest of this officer. pic.twitter.com/tNdNBfC5b3
— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) January 13, 2021
Merritt said the family was told a mental health deputy was not available, so a police officer was sent.
In the video, which was posted to the social media pages of civil rights activist Shaun King, the officer comes to the door and then announces he is coming in the house.
Merritt said Warren then asked the officer to leave, which he does.
The video then cuts to Warren walking out of the house waving his arms at the officer. The officer can be heard telling Warren to get on the ground but Warren keeps walking toward him.
Warren walks out of the view of the camera, at which point, what sounds like a tazer is deployed. Killeen police said the tazer proved not to be effective.
The video then cuts to another shot that shows Warren get back up and continue toward the officer. Someone from the house can be heard telling Warren to sit down, and asking the officer not to shoot him then three gunshots are fired out of view of the camera.
According to Merritt, the officer shot Warren once, then pointed the gun at Warren’s wife, telling her to get back. Merritt said the officer then fired his weapon at Warren again.
Warren later died at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center.
“The family of Patrick Warren Sr. demands the immediate firing and arrest of the officer responsible for his death,” Merritt said in a press release. “Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza must be prepared to conduct an independent investigation and prosecution of this officer.”
Killeen police said the officer was on administrative leave which is standard in officer involves shooting. Texas Rangers were leading the investigation.
Greg Hansch, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Texas, said it’s important that police departments have dedicated teams of trained officers who respond to mental health crisis calls in situations like these.
“Every law enforcement agency should have a team in place of officers who receive specialized training on how to de-escalate when a mental health crisis is occurring,” Hansch said.
Merritt asked that all body camera and dash-camera video be released to the family attorneys.
Warren’s son, Patrick Jr., established a GoFundMe account to pay for his father’s funeral expenses. The GoFundMe has now raised more than $33,000, and has surpassed it’s goal of $20,000.
Patrick Jr. said his dad had a life insurance policy but that it had expired three months ago. He also said Warren was released from his job because of the rise of COVID-19 cases.
The officer involved, Officer Reynaldo Contreras, is a 5-year veteran of the department. He remains on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation.
In addition to the investigation being conducted by the Texas Rangers, the Killeen Police Department is conducting a separate Internal Affairs investigation, according to the Killeen PD.
Police Chief Charles Kimble issued the following statement to the public:
“This incident is rightfully of great concern to the community. 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, and I ask for your patience as both investigations proceed.”
This article originally appeared on KCENTV.