A Texas campus police officer shot and killed an honors student after a high-speed chase because the student stole his baton and began attacking him with it, the college said Monday.
The student — whom the University of the Incarnate Word referred to Monday as "the suspect" — was identified as Robert Cameron Redus, 23, of Baytown, Texas.
University police Cpl. Chris Carter shot Redus at least three times in the predawn hours Friday morning at an off-campus apartment complex in Alamo Heights, authorities said. Carter was on paid administrative leave Monday pending the investigation.
Redus, who was known as Cameron, was a senior communication arts major on course to graduate with honors in May from the university in San Antonio, which is one of the largest Catholic colleges in the U.S.
He was an anchor for the campus TV station, UIWTV, and one of his newscasts remained on the university's website and on YouTube on Monday.
Fellow students were stunned by the shooting, describing Redus as a friendly guy whom they couldn't believe would be violent.
"He was such a sweet boy, very sweet, very respectful," Terri Mullins, a classmate, told NBC station WOAI of San Antonio at a memorial vigil Saturday. "He always had a smile on his face."
Darlene Jasso, another classmate, told the station she couldn't understand why the officer fired in the first place.
"Why do you have to pull out your gun?" she asked WOAI, adding: "I just feel heartbroken and devastated. I can't believe he's gone."
The university said in a statement Monday that Carter was returning from a break when he saw a driver speeding erratically near the front of the campus. He followed the car to the apartment complex and radioed headquarters for assistance from local police.
Alamo Heights is a incorporated town within the San Antonio city limits with it own police force, and because Carter mistakenly identified his location as being in San Antonio, the call went out to the wrong police department. It was several extra minutes before Alamo Heights police were called and could respond, the university said.
Meanwhile, Redus and Carter were fighting, the university said. Redus managed to get hold of Carter's police baton and started beating on the officer, who drew his gun and fired, it said.
"At no time during the incident did the suspect identify himself and there is no evidence that the officer had any knowledge of his student status or his place of residence," the university said.
Alamo Heights police and the Texas Rangers were in charge of the investigation, which could be complicated because there's no video record of the first fatal police shooting in the school's history.
University squad cars do come equipped with dashboard cams — but "it had fallen off the evening before the incident," the university said, blaming a change in the weather for causing the glue to fail.
The university said it was "deeply upset over the loss of life regardless of the circumstances" and said it was assisting in the investigation.