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Video shows Texas officer fatally shoot man in front of his girlfriend and child


Police in Austin, Texas, released video on Wednesday showing the fatal police shooting of a man in January.

Alex Gonzales, 27, was shot multiple times in his car, as his girlfriend and child were in the vehicle, by an Austin Police Department officer after authorities said he was involved in a “road rage incident” with an off-duty police officer on Jan. 5.

The videos shown by Austin police captured portions of the two shootings that authorities said occurred at the 2500 block of Wickersham Lane. The video is an edited compilation of videos from the patrol car dash cam, police body cameras and witness cellphone video.

The first shooting occurred at about 12:30 a.m. right before off-duty officer Gabriel Gutierrez called 911 for help and reported that Gonzales was shot, police said in the video. According to the 911 call in the video, Gutierrez said Gonzales cut him off and pointed a gun at him, which prompted the off-duty officer to open fire.

The footage on Wednesday did not show the initial encounter between Gutierrez and Gonzales because the off-duty officer was in his personal car. Security video from a nearby apartment complex and bystander cellphone video appeared to show the cars side by side right before Gutierrez shot at Gonzales.

Authorities said they later found a gun in Gonzales’ car, which Scott Hendler, the Gonzales family’s lawyer, confirmed. Hendler told NBC affiliate KXAN, however, that Gonzales was not seen with the firearm in the footage released by authorities.

“At no time in any of the videos is he seen brandishing the weapon, let alone holding the weapon, so I think that what the public is going to see is going to be very upsetting,” Hendler said.

Shortly after 12:30 a.m., officers who responded to the scene could be heard yelling, “Don’t reach! Don’t reach!” Dash camera and body camera videos showed Gonzales walking around his car to the backseat of his vehicle.

As Gonzales appeared to reach into his backseat, video showed officer Luis Serrato firing 10 shots, striking Gonzales and killing him.

Hendler said Gonzales was checking to see if his 2-month old baby was injured in the backseat of his car. The other passenger, who was identified as Gonzales’ girlfriend, was injured in the shooting but survived, police said. The baby was unharmed in the shooting.

Efforts to reach officers Gutierrez and Serrato by phone on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Attorneys for Serrato sent an open letter to interim Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon and Travis County District Attorney José Garza on Tuesday, asking them not to release the videos, KXAN reports.

“Releasing video footage under the guise of transparency, in this manner and at this time, is completely counterproductive to the overriding goal of maintaining fairness in our justice system and ensuring public confidence that the system worked properly,” the attorneys wrote.

Austin police was expected to release body camera and dash cam footage of the shooting within 60 days of the shooting on March 6, but the department told KXAN that it was delayed because of the mid-February winter storm.

Gonzales’ mother was expected to speak at a news conference after the family and their attorney watched the footage on Tuesday, but she became overwhelmed with emotion, according to KXAN.

Hendler did not immediately respond to an NBC News request for comment on Wednesday and efforts to reach Gonzales’ family were unsuccessful.

Officer Gutierrez is a five year veteran of the force, and Serrato has been with the department for two, police said. Both Gutierrez and Serrato were placed on administrative leave for their roles in the two shootings, each of which APD is investigating separately.

Donna Mendell contributed.



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