The FBI has been invited to assist in the investigation into the deadly police shooting of an unarmed college football player by an officer responding to a burglary call at a Texas car dealership, the police chief said Saturday.
Christian Taylor, 19, was shot at and struck "multiple times" by an Arlington police officer responding to a break-in report at the Classic Buick GMC dealership shortly after 1 a.m. Friday, Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson told reporters. Four shots were fired.
The deadly shooting occurred amid increased scrutiny of police use of deadly force, particularly against black suspects. Johnson said he recognized that and pledged transparency.
"Everything about the outcome of this incident is a tragedy," Johnson said. "Our community is hurting, a family is hurting, and our department is hurting."
Johnson said police got a call from a security company reporting someone was damaging a car in the dealership parking lot at around 1:05 a.m. and when police arrived they found a Jeep crashed into the showroom and someone inside the dealership. Police surrounded the building.
The security company said in a report released Saturday that a man drove to a gate at the dealership at around 12:52 a.m. and did not leave after alarms sounded. Police were called. The man damaged a vehicle and then drove into the building, the report said.
The man, later identified as Taylor, refused police orders to get down on the ground and ran to a different part of the building where he tried to force open a locked glass door, Johnson said.
Officer Brad Miller, 49, a recruit officer undergoing supervised field training, and a supervisory officer entered the building to arrest Taylor, and Miller fired four shots after some kind of confrontation, Johnson said.
The other officer did not fire but deployed a Taser at one point, but investigators don't know whether that was before, after or during the gunfire.
"We do not have the sequence of events at this time, but that is exactly what investigators will be looking for," he said.
Police do not have a motive as to why Taylor allegedly kicked in the windshield of the vehicle in the parking lot and then entered the dealership. Autopsy and toxicology reports are pending.
Miller has not yet been interviewed by investigators, but an interview has been scheduled. Johnson said it is standard police practice for a delay between a use of deadly force and an interview. Miller is on paid leave.
The shooting has resonated on social media. Taylor, a sophomore at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas, in social media posts had expressed skepticism about law enforcement and his safety.
The general manager of the dealership on Saturday called Taylor's death "a tragedy for all people involved." The statement also seemed to react to some of the online doubts of the shooting.
"But people should be aware that this was not an accident by the man when he drove into the dealership,” Darren Lancaster, general manager of the dealership, said. "He had already damaged autos on the lot and was told by the video company to leave the premises and that police had been called."
Johnson said police calls and surveillance videos will be released after all statements have been taken, probably within 7 to 10 days. Johnson said he has spoken to some members of Taylor's family as well as local religious leaders.
"If this was not justified or authorized under the law, there will be consequences," Johnson said.