Society

Man Armed with Toy Pellet Gun Shot 80 Times by Police, Says Family (Video)

| by Michael Allen

Jose Garza was reportedly shot and killed by Laredo, Texas, police officers who fired more than 80 bullets at the 30-year-old man who was armed with a toy pellet gun.

While family members counted over 80 shots, the Laredo Police Department doesn't know how many bullets the six officers fired during last weekend's fatal shooting, notes the Laredo Morning Times.

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The incident was caught on surveillance video (below) at a local truck stop on Saturday at around 2 a.m.

MySanAntonio.com reports the video "does not clearly show Garza threatening the officers but does show the man being shot and officers subsequently handcuffing him."

Laredo Police Chief Ray Garner has placed all six police officers in administrative jobs until the homicide and internal affairs divisions finish investigating the shooting, which harkens back to the infamous "41 shots" by police that killed Amadou Diallo in New York.

Chief Garner expressed concern about the officers, not the shooting victim or his family

"These officers, although justified, are going to have to carry that around with them for the rest of their lives," Chief Garner told MySanAntonio.com. "I've been in contact with all six of the officers from that evening through today. They seem to be holding up. No officer goes to work thinking they're going to kill somebody."

Laredo police spokesman Joe E. Baeza defended the shooting: “[Garza] put his finger in the trigger guard and pointed [the toy pellet gun] at the officers."

"He wouldn't get aggressive, he wouldn't hurt anyone," Garza's cousin Andrea Martinez told the New York Daily News. "He's a good kid. Why didn't they shoot him in the leg, or the arm or something? Not like that."

Martinez added that she had seen Garza's body, which was shot at least 80 times and "had no face."

Martinez said that Garza was on medication for schizophrenia and could be disruptive if he had not taken his pills.

Garza had been arrested by the Laredo police almost 30 times in the past. The charges included theft, trespassing, assault of a public servant and assault causing serious bodily injury.

Sources: Laredo Morning Times, MySanAntonio.com, Wikipedia, New York Daily News