Russell Rios, a 19-year-old man living in Conroe, TX, was shot by an off-duty police officer last year.
The incident occurred when Rios tried leaving a local Wal-Mart Super Store, was accused of shoplifting and chased from the store by company employees. The off-duty officer, Jason Blackwelder, was standing in the parking lot and began chasing Rios once he saw that the teenager was accused of shoplifting.
Rios ran into the woods nearby the store, and Blackwelder followed him. When Blackwelder reemerged from the woods, Rios was shot in the back of the head. Rios was unarmed.
This incident largely parallels that of America’s most recent high-profile criminal case, the one involving George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. The details of the incident are impossible to decipher, as no one was in the woods aside from Rios and Blackwelder, and only one of them survived the encounter.
In response to the incident, Rios’s mother Jacqueline Rios has filed a lawsuit against Blackwelder in Houston’s U.S. District court. Jacqueline Rios claims that Blackwelder lied about the incident in his report, saying that Russell was choking him.
The complaint against Blackwelder indicates that the location of the bullet makes it improbable that Rios was choking the off-duty officer.
“In reality, Russell was shot in the back of the head and could not have been choking Sergeant Blackwelder when he killed him. Instead, what happened to Russell was an execution and a clear constitutional violation of the use of deadly force,” the complaint reads.
This case is one of many against Blackwelder, as the officer was indicted on “charges of manslaughter, tampering with a government record and making a false report to a police officer” in September, according to the Houston Chronicle.
According to ABC Local, Rios was a student at Lone Start College and had just begun working as a bank teller. More than anything, his family is searching for answers.